Saturday 17 February 2018

'Jonathan Walters will try to intimidate players' - Wayne Rooney pinpoints Irishman as a wind-up merchant

Wayne Rooney says Walters is a wind-up merchant
Wayne Rooney says Walters is a wind-up merchant

Harry Clarke

Jonathan Walters is one of just two players who will try to intimidate you on the pitch, according to Wayne Rooney.

The Irish striker is known for his physicality, and speaking ahead of England's crunch Euro 2016 clash with Wales today, Rooney claims Walters - along with Craig Bellamy - are two players who will try and wind you up during matches.

“In all the games I’ve played over the years in the Premier League, there’s not been much, probably Craig Bellamy the only one,” said Rooney.

“Jon Walters a bit. They are the only two who try to speak to players and try to intimidate players. I can’t recall anyone else doing it.

“I’ve played against Ashley Williams many times, and many of the Welsh players many times, and never had it in the Premier League, so I doubt it will happen.”

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

"Jon will be struggling for the game," O'Neill yesterday (Wednesday).

"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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