Jon Walters determined to face Poland in Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifier

Jon Walters hasn’t ruled himself out of the running for Ireland’s Euro qualifier against Poland at the end of the month despite confirmation yesterday that he has a fractured cheekbone.

Jon Walters determined to face Poland in Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifier

The Stoke City striker incurred the injury when he took a blow to the face in the 1-0 loss to West Brom at the Hawthornes on Sunday, prompting his manager Mark Hughes to fear the worst and speculate that the player could be out of action for a number of weeks.

But, following yesterday’s x-ray which confirmed the damage, it’s understood that Walters himself has still not given up hope of being able to feature against the Poles at the Aviva on March 29.

A decision will now have to be made on whether he requires surgery or could possibly return to play sooner than expected wearing a protective mask.

Walters’ initial reaction to the bad news yesterday was good-humoured, the Irish international having a dig at one of his club mates as he tweeted: “So in 10 yrs 2 fractured cheekbones, a broken nose, eyebrows stitched bk on and teeth knocked out, yet I’m still better looking than @robert_huth.”

Last week it was announced that Walters is on a shortlist of three – along with Aiden McGeady and John O’ Shea – for the FAI Senior International Player of the Year Award which will be announced next Sunday on RTE on the day the Irish squad gather in Dublin to begin a week of preparations for the game against Poland at the Aviva Stadium.

Reflecting his excellent form which he has carried over from 2014, Walters is also the front-runner in the contest to be named Stoke City’s Player of the Season.

As recently as his latest squad announcement last week, Martin O’ Neill underlined the importance of the player to the Irish cause when he said: “Jon is not only wholehearted, when he is wide on the right-hand side you know what you are going to get.

“Jon is not going to beat three or four players and put in a great cross. What he will do is work for you there and he will hold it in his position and he will get in at the far post when the play is being built up on the left hand side.

“He’s done remarkably well considering he has now become a mainstay of the Stoke side when at the start of the season he thought that his time was nearly up and he had to be convinced by the manager to stay around.”

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