Tuesday 22 October 2019

Emotional Jonathan Walters reveals heartbreaking death of brother (35) last year

Jon Walters scored 14 goals for the Republic of Ireland (Tony Marshall/PA)
Jon Walters scored 14 goals for the Republic of Ireland (Tony Marshall/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Republic of Ireland striker Jonathan Walters has spoken for the first time about the death of his brother last summer, in an emotional interview with the BBC.

Walters gave an honest interview to reporter Tony Livesey last year as he spoke about how he was affected by the death of his mother in his youth and as he was reunited with the broadcaster, he revealed the last few months have been painful on and off the pitch.

"I've talked about Mum a lot more with close members of my family and my Mum's sisters. I found out a lot more things I didn't know about her," began the striker who confirmed his retirement from football last week.

"Then while I was going through it all, my brother passed away last summer. He was just 35 and it was difficult, it was tough. You are dealing with all that at home and then you are back on your own in the gym every day and it was a difficult time.

"Now that I am finished as a player, I will take more time to look after that side of things for me. I'll be taking myself out of football and the day to day routine to spend a lot of time on myself. It's a tough thing to do, but something that's needed to be done.

"One of my Mum's sisters went into a bereavement counselling in Dublin and I have spoken to her about it briefly. It is something I will look at now. I'm a very private individual and knowing that support is there is very good for me."

Walters received plaudits from a variety of high profile football figures after his stellar career with club and country came to an end last Friday and he admits he will miss pulling on the green Ireland shirt more than any other after he called time on his career.

"I didn't realise people held me in such high regard," he said. "Looking back, looking at all the photos, that's when it gets you a bit. I've managed to live my dream and it's been a great journey along the way."

"I haven't played a lot of club football the past couple of years, and I've always said I could park that to the side, but the one thing I'll miss the most is the international side. It's the most difficult part to walk away from. When you're watching Ireland, that's heartbreaking.

"Everything about it - from meeting up with the team, to all the staff there from the bus drivers to the physios, the security guys, everyone."

Walters admits he has considered what he will do now that his football career is over and he has plans that should ensure he gives something back to the game.

"I'll take a variety of routes and see which path is the right one to go down," he added. "I've got involved with media work over the past year or so and really enjoyed that because you can give your perspective on football.

"A different route is an agency. The agent who looks after me is an ex-player. He went into it looking after four of five players maximum, and he said to me if I fancied it when I finished I could help him out and he'd teach me. That interests me because I wouldn't be doing it for a financial reason.

"I've been clever with my finances down the year and it's not something that I need, I'd do it to look after people and guide them in the way I've looked after myself during my career.

"I've always done things my own way, and done it the right way."

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