Walters ready for Irish call

JIM Magilton has hailed Jon Walters as the 'best player in the Championship' and tipped him for senior international honours.Walters, who has been called into the Republic of Ireland's 'B' squad to pay Scotland, hit his first-ever hat-tick as Ipswich trounced Bristol City 6-0.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton has hailed Jon Walters as the 'best player in the Championship' and tipped him for senior international honours.

Walters, who has been called into the Republic of Ireland's 'B' squad to pay Scotland, hit his first-ever hat-tick as Ipswich trounced Bristol City 6-0.

The bargain buy from Chester City took his goal tally to seven for the season.

His form for Town has won him international recognition with Pat Devlin naming him in a Republic of Ireland B squad to play Scotland, but Magilton believes he is good enough to challenging the likes of Robbie Keane and Clinton Morrison at senior level.

Magilton said: “Jon deserves his chance at international level for the Republic. The call-up is no more than he warrants and, if he continues to make progress, I have no doubts he will be pushing hard for a senior call- up.

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“On current evidence, he is as good as any player in the Championship.”

The Blues boss raved about the forward who he switched with such stunning success to a right winger.

He said: “Jon has had a lean spell but has come back very strongly and I've been delighted with him. He is desperate to play every week.

“He's got a great work ethic and wants to improve all the time. He has a great desire to improve as a player and that is a wonderful commodity to have.

“He is one of those lads who is a pleasure to work with.

“He's honest and desperate to be a player and he feels as if he was probably going to be bypassed. In the two FA Cup games against Chester, he was the best player on the park. We feel very lucky to have him because he brings a desire and an attitude into the dressing room.

“He was not going to not start for us this year because he came back hungriest, leanest, fittest and, as a result, he is playing and he is playing very well.”

With a few million to spend once the proposed takeover is completed, either by Marcus Evans or another tycoon, with David Sullivan also waiting in the wings, Magilton is keen to find more players in the Walters' mould.

He said: “It will give a huge boost to the whole area and it's important that, if and when we do get the money, that we spend it wisely.

“By that, I mean getting the same sort of characters into the building. The same sort of characters as Jon Walters, Alex Bruce, Dan Harding and David Wright. It's important that we don't upset the balance of the dressing room because we are building up a terrific team spirit and that's what gets you results.”

The last time Ipswich won so handsomely was a couple of years ago against Nottingham Forest when Magilton was a player and he enjoyed this one just as much.

Magilton said: “It was very good, you don't often get days like this so you've got to enjoy it.

“We knew we had to start brightly and not let them settle into a pattern or routine that they have got themselves into in the past.

“They've come up from League One and they've been very good on their travels because they keep the ball and they are all very comfortable in possession.

“The two goals obviously gave us a platform to go out and play. At 2-0, we've been there before on a few occasions but we haven't said or done anything differently. We knew the next goal was going to be important and we got it fortunately this time.

“Them going down to 10 men can be a tricky situation but we passed the ball fluently with good tempo.

“We do that every day in training and it's important that you replicate that in a game situation and they did.

The only downside to the day was an injury to Alan Lee with an Achilles problem that forced the striker to be replaced by Danny Haynes.

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