'Inspirational' Walters lands new Stoke deal
TONY Pulis has hailed Jonathan Walters as an inspiration after rewarding the Irish striker with a contract extension that will keep him at Stoke until 2015.
Walters made the leap to the Premier League from Ipswich 12 months ago, and has proved good value for a £2.75m purchase.
He scored 12 times last year, establishing himself as a pivotal member of Pulis' plans.
"It went far better than I ever could have imagined," he said.
The 27-year-old spent his youth at Blackburn and Bolton, but dropped down to League Two level before gradually working his way back up the ranks.
And Potters manager Pulis has lavished praise on the Irish international.
"Jon's rise to prominence is an inspiration to others. He has had to battle his way back up from the lower leagues through hard work and dedication," he said.
"We took him on because we thought he could do a good job for us, but he has actually done fantastically well and he has now got his just rewards.
"I am sure there are other players out there who could follow his example and make an impact in the Premier League if they are given the chance.
"We are delighted Jon has agreed this new deal and made sure that his long-term future lies with us because he has an important role to play here."