Walters: No legacy issues with Keane

Jon Walters knows all about being on Roy Keane’s bad side but the Stoke player insists they have cleared the air.

The pair fell out three years ago when Keane was in charge of Ipswich Town and Walters was his captain as several Premier League clubs were trying to lure him away from Portman Road.

When Walters missed a game due to illness, Keane became suspicious and told the media as much. But his star winger responded by taking a photo of his vomit to prove his sickness.

Not long afterwards, Walters moved on to Stoke City and rumours of bad blood existing with Keane refused to go away. So it should have been uncomfortable when they met again in Dublin last week.

Appointed as Martin O’Neill’s assistant with the Republic, Keane was quick to greet his former player.

Walters revealed: “There were no problems at all. I didn’t expect there to be any. When I was at Ipswich, I was captain so there’s been no problems whatsoever.”

“I said a few months ago that I wanted to go and he wanted me to stay. At any club it’s the same. We spoke when he came in, there’s nothing to it. So, yeah, it’s gone really well.

“The last time I joined up [with Ireland], people were asking about things and I said if I was the chairman of a club I’d give him a go and get him back into it because I enjoyed the training at Ipswich and he had some great ideas.”

There has been a lot of talk about what exactly Keane’s role will be in the new-look Ireland set-up, but, so far, he has been very hands-on with training and engaging with players.

Walters will know the Corkman better than most and while he admits international football is different than the club game, he says Keane has not changed. “It’s not like a club. You’re not there every day, so it’s completely different,” said Walters.

“He still got involved [in training] at Ipswich, although he did have a coach to take the sessions. He was always there every day getting involved in training.”

Back in Poznan today, Walters will hope to banish memories of Euro 2012 as he aims to impress O’Neill and Keane in tomorrow’s friendly against Poland and stake his claim for a starting spot.

“I wish we’d qualified for the next tournament because we’ve a long while to wait for the next game – after Poland, it’s in March.”


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