Thursday 19 January 2017

Martin O'Neill reveals that Jonathan Walters might also miss Italy match

Aidan Fitzmaurice in Versailles

Published 15/06/2016 | 10:29

Jon Walters of Republic of Ireland applauds the supporters as he is substituted during the second half against Sweden
Jon Walters of Republic of Ireland applauds the supporters as he is substituted during the second half against Sweden

MARTIN O'Neill says he won't take any risks with injury concern Jonathan Walters for Saturday's Euro 2016 clash with Belgium as the Stoke City forward is now focusing on being fit for next week's meeting with Italy.

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Walters, suffering from an Achilles injury, was not fit to train here in Versailles today and is very unlikely to be involved in Bordeaux on Saturday.

"Jon will be struggling for the game," O'Neill said at today's press conference. "He thinks that if he doesn't make it for this game, he will focus on making it for the last game. He will have to do a lot of improving, there will have to be a lot of improvement for him to come though and be ready, if the game was tomorrow he wouldn't make it.

"Risking Jon, risking a serious injury for someone, I wouldn't contemplate that, not an injury that could risk his career, but if he says he is fit for the Italian game, I will consider it.

"We didn't have Jon in Bosnia [for the first leg of the Euro 2016 play-off], so we can play without him, he probably has been our talisman and he would be a loss to us, but if he's not fit we have a number of players who can step in and do a job," added O'Neill, who has 22 fit players to pick from bar Walters.

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