Thursday 19 September 2019

'He doesn't bother me one bit' - Walters on Keane comments

Broke down: Ex-Ireland international Jon Walters. Picture: Getty
Broke down: Ex-Ireland international Jon Walters. Picture: Getty

John Fallon

The war of words between former Irish internationals Roy Keane and Jon Walters has continued after the latter wondered why people took any notice of the ex-Manchester United captain.

Keane appeared at an Off The Ball roadshow event in Dublin last Wednesday night, during which he took a swipe at Walters over an interview he gave on The Late Late Show last May, when he opened up about the passing of his mother and brother, his wife's miscarriage and his daughter being diagnosed with scoliosis.

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Walters broke down during a BBC interview in March 2018 when discussing the impact of losing his mother, Helen Brady, when he was just 11, and he spoke about her death in a separate hard-hitting newspaper interview the year before that.

The relationship between Keane and Walters has been strained since the player's exit from Ipswich Town to Stoke City in 2010.

The pair clashed again in the Ireland camp, with the duo having to be separated in May 2018 ahead of a friendly in France.

Keane was critical of Walters for sitting out the team's training session.

"Imagine if Jon won a trophy," Keane said last week. "He talks a good game. He goes on the TV, on about how he was harshly treated by me.

"Not kicking a ball for Burnley for two or three years. On TV, crying about his family situation. You know, how about lying low for a while, taking it easy? Have a look at his medals. Wouldn't take long."

Responding for the first time to the former Manchester United captain's comments, Walters told BBC's Football Focus: "Honestly I don't know why people listen to what he has to say.

"I didn't want to particularly go on TV to talk about it. It all came from an interview I did a few years ago with [British journalist] Henry Winter. He caught me by surprise and I broke down.

"I was mentally tough as a player and had never broken down. He got me to another place. There were thousands of responses to that.

"I had a terrible year last year. Someone got wind of it and I got asked to speak about it. Because of the previous responses, I went down that route. It's up to someone if they want to take it down that route but it doesn't bother me one single bit.

"Obviously, I bother him but he doesn't bother me one bit. I don't know why people take notice most of the time."

Walters went on to add he does not regret speaking out about his difficulties and wanted to help people.

"I was trying to help other people. It's hard to get back to everyone on social media. From 16-year-old boys and girls to 80-year-olds.

"As an ex-player, you have a certain media platform. Rather than use it try self-promote or have digs at people, it is more to help people."

Asked if he'd be open to making up with Keane, Walters was non-committal.

"I've never been a person to hold grudges. There's plenty of things I could say or moves I could make.

"I always give an honest, straight answer when asked the question.

"It happened at Ipswich and I approached him in the Ireland camp to make up but each person is unique. We'll see down the line."

Sunday Independent

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