Tuesday 21 August 2018

'I've no qualms about dropping to the Championship' - Jon Walters set for Burnley exit

Jonathan Walters during a Republic of Ireland press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jonathan Walters during a Republic of Ireland press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Jonathan Walters is ready to seek an exit from Burnley as he retains his hopes of playing a part for Ireland at Euro 2020.

Walters is in the Ireland squad for Monday’s friendly away to France, the 34-year-old keen to play a role for his country after a tough season which saw him struggle at club level, battling injury for long spells and he was then unable to get into the Burnley side once he was fit.

He has two seasons left on his contract with Burnley and the club do have European football to look forward to next season but after talks with Clarets boss Sean Dyche, it’s been agreed that he can move on if a deal can be done, Walters even willing to drop down a division if he can’t secure something in the Premier League.

“I have been fit for a while, been in squads and not been picked, but I spoke to the manager and I think I am available to go if needs be, we will assess it and see what’s there,” Walters said.

“If I wanted to move on, I wouldn’t see that as an issue. But we will see. I have got another year. I am not going to rush any decisions. If someone wants you in the Premier League, great but if not I will have no qualms about dropping. Playing games is what it is all about.

“Sometimes at Stoke, I wasn’t playing every week, but I knew I would play 15 or 20 games a-year, and sometimes that is okay, but if I want to be involved in games over here with Ireland then I need to get that feeling back of being a footballer. It is tough to train all week and then not play,” added the forward.

Assistant manager Roy Keane feels that Walters can still contribute with Ireland, on and off the field.

“Jon was a big loss to us last year and he’s still working on his own match fitness, I know it was only a testimonial last week but it was good for him to get some minutes. He trained well yesterday, he has a good attitude and that sets the tone for lads new to international football,” said Keane.

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