Sven-Goran Eriksson wanted West Ham's Anton Ferdinand to join England's World Cup stand-by list as a replacement for the injured Luke Young.
But the England coach's phone call to the Hammers centre-back came 24 hours too late as the player had just undergone a double hernia operation.
Although Ferdinand would not have been required for World Cup duty, the chance to link up with the squad before they flew to Germany would have been a valuable experience for the 21-year-old.
'It was about a week after the FA Cup final and I was just sitting at home when my phone rung. It was Sven asking if I would like to join up with the squad on standby,' said Ferdinand, who travelled to Germany to watch older brother Rio in England's group matches.
'I was shocked at first. Unfortunately I had to say no because I'd had a double hernia operation the day before.
'Sven didn't know about that and said it was unfortunate, but wished me all the best for the future.
'It was a bit upsetting to think that having the operation cost me the chance of joining up with England.'
Eriksson instead turned to Tottenham's Michael Dawson to provide the defensive cover.
Ferdinand shone at the heart of West Ham's defence last season and having come close to an England call he is determined to impress new England coach Steve McClaren.
'Hopefully I will get my chance at international level in the future,' Ferdinand, who is now back in training, told the club's website, whufc.com.
'First and foremost, though, I've got to make sure I play well for West Ham because that is the only way I am going to get in the England squad next season.'