Andrew Flintoff declared himself fit before being left out by England ahead of their crushing fourth Test loss to Australia, the all-rounder's agent told Monday's edition of The Times.
Andrew Chandler said team management were not satified that the fast bowler and hard-hitting batsman, who has been struggling with a knee injury throughout what he has said will be his final Test series, would last the distance.
As it turned out, England were beaten inside three days at Headingley, losing by an innings and 80 runs as Australia levelled the Ashes at 1-1.
Flintoff, 31 is due to see a knee specialist Monday as he bids to make the side for the fifth and final Test at the Oval, which starts on August 20.
But Chandler was adamant he could have played at Headingley.
"I've never seen anybody as low as Flintoff was on Thursday night when he was told he would not be selected," Chandler told The Times.
"He told them that he was fit enough to get through, that he felt no different to how he felt at Edgbaston and that he could get through and do his bit. They didn't want him.
"He was prepared to do whatever it takes, was prepared to put whatever needed to be put into his knee.
"The whole point of announcing his retirement when he did was to clear his head and prepare to do whatever needed to be done to play the final Test matches of his career.
"He just didn't see it coming. He wanted to play and they didn't want him, and he didn't see that coming at all."
Flintoff's pace bowling led England to a 115-run victory in the second Test at Lord's and top-scored for the hosts in the drawn third Test at Edgbaston.
Chandler said England had failed to factor in the galvanising effect of match conditions on Flintoff after he was unable to convince team management of his fitness during nets sessions at Headingley.
"What they didn't take into account during Thursday's practice was that there was no adrenalin," he said.
"That was why he looked as though he was struggling so much and why he became so much worse on the final day at Edgbaston, when it was clear the game could not be won.
"He was hurting at Lord's but the adrenalin got him through. It would have got him through this week as well.
"His presence would certainly have lifted the crowd and the team, because without him they don't have much inspiration."
Barring an announcement from the specialist that Flintoff needs an immediate operation, he is sure to come into consideration for a Test his side must win to regain the urn from Australia.