Sunday 17 December 2017

Jon Walters to miss Ireland's World Cup play-off next month but Seamus Coleman could return - report

Jonathan Walters
Jonathan Walters

Independent.ie Newdesk

Martin O'Neill will have to plan without the services of Jonathan Walters for next month's World Cup play-off.

According to Sky Sports, the Burnley striker will be out until Christmas with a recurring knee problem.

Walters underwent clean-up operations on his knee in March of last year and January of this year.

The 34-year-old has not played for Burnley since the middle of August.

He was in the stands at the Cardiff City Stadium on Monday to cheer on Ireland during their 1-0 victory over Wales that secured O'Neill's men a play-off place.

"I would have thought there was absolutely no chance of Jon Walters being back because he is out for quite a number of weeks," O'Neill told Sky Sports.

O'Neill was more upbeat about the chances of Seamus Coleman making a return for the two-legged play-off after his double leg break in March.

"Seamus is doing really, really well and I know what Seamus is like. He has been magnificent for us here around about the camp," he added.

"He's our captain on the field and off the field and it has been great to have him and Jon Walters, who are two big players for us, around the last few days.

"I couldn't call it. I'd have to speak to Alan Byrne, our doctor, but he hasn't played for some time and the play-offs are in early November."

Ireland will learn at next week's draw whether they will face Switzerland, Italy, Croatia or Denmark in the play-offs.

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