“Sustaining the injury happened in a split second,” Elliot said of the incident in Tuesday night’s game against Slovakia.
“The ball was played across the goal and I moved across to get in line. I dived after the ball as I would do in any training session or any game, but I felt pain straight away. Watching it back, I grabbed my knee before I’d even landed.
“When I found out it was my cruciate ligament, that’s when the tears came. There was a wave of emotion knowing I’d miss the rest of the season with Newcastle and the Euros with Ireland. But you have to let that come, get past it and then look to be positive.”
Stoke and England’s Jack Butland has offered some bittersweet fellow goalkeeper’s support to Elliot as both men now contemplate a summer in rehab.
Butland, who fractured his ankle in the friendly against Germany on Saturday, tweeted his stricken Irish counterpart yesterday to say: “Mate, gutted for you and wish you a solid recovery! You can come round mine and we can watch the Euros together! Head up mate!”
Newcastle United yesterday confirmed Elliot will be out for “several months” with the anterior cruciate ligament injury.
“Rob has returned to Newcastle and has been assessed this morning by the club’s doctor,” said the club in a statement. “He will now commence a programme of treatment and rehabilitation. Everyone connected with Newcastle United wishes Rob the very best for his recovery.”
Among the Magpies legends to express their dismay was BBC pundit Alan Shearer who, in a tweet wishing the ‘keeper a speedy recovery, said: “Devastating news for Rob Elliot. Football is cruel at times. Newcastle’s best player this season by a mile.”
Meanwhile, John O’Shea expressed his sadness for Elliot on behalf of the Irish team, telling FAI TV: “That’s a massive, massive blow for him and a big loss for us. He’s been having a fantastic season, we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Darren Randolph, who has known Elliot since they were trainees together at Charlton, was among the first to offer his best wishes to his compatriot. The West Ham goalkeeper, who finished the qualifying campaign in possession of the No 1 jersey, replaced Elliot at the Aviva on Tuesday.
Randolph said: “I’ve known him since we were 15 and I know him quite well. I don’t want to see that happen to anybody, at any stage, let alone Rob. He’s been on fire. There’s never a good time for that to happen, but it’s the worst possible time for him now.”