Walters: I feared the worst

JON Walters today talked of the moment he thought his run in the Ipswich Town team had come to an end.

Elvin King

JON Walters today talked of the moment he thought his run in the Ipswich Town team had come to an end.

The Blues skipper is the only player to have featured in every game this season, but when he heard his ankle crack in the final minutes against Watford on October 20 he feared the worst.

With Town manager Roy Keane saying that he would like 11 Jon Walters' in his side, the 26-year-old's place in the starting line-up is never in doubt.

But when he hobbled off seconds before the Hornets netted a heartbreaking late equaliser, Walters admits he feared for the worst.

“My ankle went over and I heard a loud crack,” recalled Walters. “It was the same ankle that I ruptured ligaments forcing me to miss seven of the last nine matches last season.

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“Fortunately our expert physio staff found that it was scar tissue that had built up around the ankle that had cracked. My ankle was sprained.

“It still looked bleak for me playing at Plymouth four days later, and at one time it seemed I would have to miss out.

“But I enjoy playing every minute of every game. It's a short career and I never want to miss out.

“So I flew down to the south west with the rest of the squad although it was pretty painful.

“I didn't train again until Saturday morning, and the manager and medical staff had to assess the risks.

“But I wanted to play and get the team out of the position we're in at the moment so it was a case of strapping it up and getting on with it.

“It was a bit restrictive but when you're playing you just get on with it.”

Walters lasted the whole game and also played 90 minutes in last weekend's 1-0 win over Derby County having made a rapid full recovery.

He is a vital and versatile member of Keane's squad, being able to play up front or wide in midfield, and it would have been a big blow if he had had to join David Norris and Luca Civelli on the long-term injured list.

Walters has revealed that he regularly trains extra hours to keep in tip-top condition.

“I'll always do anything I can to help myself help the team,” he added.

“Sometimes I work on my own but a lot of the time there are other lads around doing the same thing.

“What we do depends on what games are coming up, but I might do some extra gym work to help build myself up.

“Or I might grab a bag of balls and practice a few shots, penalties and free-kicks, or maybe work on my left foot.

“We want to work on our weaknesses and there are always lads in the squad who want to carry on after training.

“I enjoy it. I enjoy training and I realise I'm very fortunate to have the best job in the world.”

His dedication and professionalism are appreciated by Keane - and he is a player the manager would find very difficult to replace.