Tuesday 16 January 2018

FAI confirm they received word from Stoke over Walters fitness

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

JONATHAN Walters has confirmed that a shoulder problem, which required painkilling injections from Christmas onwards, is the reason for his absence from Ireland's end-of-season internationals.

The name of the Stoke striker has been bandied about in the same breath as youngsters James McCarthy and Marc Wilson in the furore surrounding pull-outs from Giovanni Trapattoni's squad.

Trapattoni mentioned Walters by name in his post-match press conference on Tuesday, seemingly unimpressed by the manner in which he learned of the 27-year-old's unavailability from Stoke.

But FAI sources indicated that Abbotstown were notified by Stoke that Walters, Wilson and Glenn Whelan all had difficulties which prevented them from participating in Tuesday's win over the North.

Whelan is expected to join up with the squad ahead of Sunday's game with Scotland, while Walters and Wilson were both ruled out of that game in addition to the Euro 2012 qualifier in Macedonia.

Yet it's understood that the FAI was dissatisfied with the excuse offered for Wilson -- a hamstring problem -- given that Trapattoni had been confident enough to name the defender in his starting XI for the thrashing of the North.


But, it appears that the FAI was aware of Walters' shoulder issues, which were exacerbated in Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Wigan. Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, the versatile striker revealed that he has been playing through the pain barrier since Stoke's 2-0 victory over Blackburn on St Stephen's Day.

"I did my shoulder ligaments and had to have painkilling injections to play for a few months," he said.

"Then, around seven weeks ago, I whacked it again and fractured my clavicle and I've been suffering with it since. (Gary) Caldwell (Wigan defender) shoved me into an advertising hoarding on Sunday and I hurt it again. I had an X-ray on Monday and it confirmed the injury. I've fractured it again. I'm gutted to miss out."

Trap would prefer if his players reported to Dublin to have their respective ailments assessed, but the case of Walters seems clear cut compared to the other examples.

Walters missed Ireland's March double-header with Macedonia and Uruguay as his wife was giving birth. Trap takes a dim view of players withdrawing for that reason, but he may be unaware that when Walters had his first child, the baby suffered complications that required hospitalisation for a period of months.

Thankfully, there were no problems this time, but, given past experience, the player wasn't going to leave his wife alone in the final stages of pregnancy.

Irish Independent

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