Monday, December 9, 2019

Walters in line for starting role

SoccerNews in MLS 8 Nov 2011

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Jonathan Walters could make his first competitive start for Ireland in Friday’s Euro 2012 qualifying playoff first leg against Estonia.

Veteran striker and captain Robbie Keane confirmed his return to fitness with a goal for LA Galaxy in their MLS Western Conference final against Real Salt Lake on Sunday.

Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni must decide who will partner former Tottenham man Keane at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn.

Newcastle striker Leon Best has pulled out of the squad, with his wife expected to give birth to their first child.

Best’s participation was already in doubt after he picked up groin and toe injuries during his side’s 2-1 English Premier League win over Everton on Saturday, while West Bromwich Albion forward Shane Long has a knee complaint and could not be considered for selection.

Kevin Doyle will miss the game due to suspension, after the Wolves forward was sent off late in the 2-1 victory over Armenia last month.

That win saw Ireland claim second place in Group B, earning them a spot in the playoffs.

With Best, Long and Doyle out, it is likely Walters of Stoke City or West Brom’s Simon Cox will partner Keane in attack.

And if Walters gets the nod, the English-born forward, who qualifies for selection through his Irish mother, intends to give his all for the cause.

“Whoever I am playing with or whatever position I am playing in, I try and help the team along the way and if I do get a chance to score myself, then I will,” Walters said.

“More unselfishly, it is about getting the team through and about getting the results we need.”

Walters has netted five goals in 17 appearances for Stoke this season, and hopes his combative style will transfer well to the international stage.

“I think I am not the sort of player to shirk out of anything,” he said.

“I will go in wholehearted to anything, so if that is putting myself about or doing whatever needs to be done, I will do that.”

“I’ve got the scars in my head and in my eyebrows to prove that. So, yes, I will get involved and get mixed up in whatever needs to be done.”

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