Walters tipped for international honours

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton and Republic of Ireland defender Alex Bruce have both tipped Blues star Jon Walters to win full international honours.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town manager Jim Magilton and Republic of Ireland defender Alex Bruce have both tipped Blues star Jon Walters to win full international honours.

Walters, 24, scored a hat-trick in Saturday's 6-0 demolition of Bristol City and has been selected for the Irish B squad for their friendly with Scotland next Tuesday.

The former Chester player already has Under-21 caps, with Magilton praising the striker he has converted to a right-sided player this season.

“The hunger is there, the attitude is there,” said the Blues boss. “He works so hard at his game and that's a great characteristic to have.

“Jon deserves his call-up for the Republic of Ireland B squad and, if he can continue his improvement, then there is no reason why he can't step up to the full international scene.”

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And Bruce, who has this week moved up to the main squad for tomorrow's game against Wales after originally being in the B squad, said: “I am pleased for Jon, he has been playing very well this season,”

Bruce confirmed that he was unaware of recent discussions that have cleared him to carry on playing for the Republic.

The 23-year-old Ipswich defender was caught up in a row between the Irish FA from the north and the FAI in the south about players being allowed to choose between the two countries.

Bruce is eligible to play for Ireland through a grandmother from Northern Ireland and holds British and Irish passports.

Although called up at Under-21 level for Northern Ireland he chose Eire and has made seven appearances at all levels, including his senior debut against Ecuador in New York last summer.

“To be honest I did not know much about what was going on,” said Bruce. “But I am glad it has been sorted out and that I remain in the thoughts of the Irish selectors.

“We will have a new manager coming in soon to replace Steve Staunton and I am pleased to have got a call back into the A squad.”

Bruce was left out of five Ipswich games after partnering skipper Jason De Vos at the heart of the Blues defence for the opening nine matches of the season.

He took the blow in typical responsible fashion saying: “The manager had his reasons, and is an experienced man.

“I respect his decision.

“The lads who came in did well, and it is not about me.

“It is all about Ipswich Town.

“It is always a blow to be left out, but you have to buckle down, work hard and look to win your place back.

“When I am out of the team I am not the best person to be around.

“But I am back now, and will be doing all I can to retain my place.”

Town are training normally this week after their two-day trip to a Northamptonshire hotel on Sunday and Monday. They will have the weekend off.

MATT Richards (Brighton), and Sammy Lee (Brentford), are two Ipswich Town players who will not be eligible to play for the Blues in the FA Cup this season.

They are both out on loan and took part in first round matches last weekend. George O'Callaghan missed Brighton's game because of a virus, while Ian Miller missed out on Darlington's match.

Richards, who has made 12 appearances for the Seagulls so far, is to spend another month on loan with Brighton. Jim Magilton agreed to extend his loan period to the maximum 93 days.

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