‘I was quite interested by how that all came across’ – Hurst responds to Keane’s alleged Walters rant
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst has addressed the issue of Jon Walters’ knee issues following the leak of Roy Keane’s alleged comments this week.
Walters and Keane fell out when the pair were both at Portman Road back in 2010 and appear to have been at loggerheads again as part of the Republic of Ireland camp.
In an audio file leaked this week, Burnley and Ireland defender Stephen Ward outlines a row between Keane, Walters and Harry Arter from a training camp in May this year.
Ward’s account details how assistant boss Keane angrily confronted both Walters and Arter ‘for not training three days in a row’.
Walters underwent knee surgery last December and made just five appearances in his debut season for Burnley.
The 34-year-old striker says he has been fit since March and arrived on loan at Ipswich raring to go. He played the whole of the recent derby draw with Norwich City and then, four days later, completed another 90 minutes as the Republic of Ireland lost 4-1 in Wales.
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Walters then left the camp early, ahead of a friendly in Poland, to rejoin with his new club-mates to prepare for tomorrow’s Championship game in Hull.
“Yeah, I was quite interested by how that all came across,” said Hurst. “We trained three days last week and I’m pretty sure Jon did that, so...
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“Things have been out there this week and it’s far from me to comment, but what I would say is Jon knows how to manage his knee.
“If it’s a case that he needs a day off then we’ll have an adult conversation and make the right decision. I’m not going to force a player out on the training pitch if it’s going to be detrimental to him and to us.
“We had a conversation before he signed about what I expect generally from players and that fits with what he wants. He doesn’t want to be inside, he wants to be out training. If there is ever an issue or his knee is playing up then we’ll look at it.
“In Jon Walters we’ve got someone who wants to be out there and has a fantastic attitude. If he is inside it will be through gritted teeth and because he needs to be, not because he thinks ‘oh, I’m a bit tired’.
“That’s the attitude I want - someone of his standing in the group with the career that he’s had. I’d put Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse into that bracket as well when you look at their playing records and the number of Championship games that they’ve had.
“That’s what you want as manager – players who can hold up and say ‘that’s how you be a professional footballer’.”
On Walters leaving the Ireland camp early. Hurst explained: “I spoke to Jon about that when we initially signed him, I wasn’t sure exactly what his situation was and I think he was a little unclear about what he wanted to do.
“And in the end it was decided that he wanted to hopefully go and get minutes, which he did in that first game.
“I said that the ideal scenario would be for him to come back because we were still training, he’s like a new member of the squad and we’d like him around. He was more than happy to do that and has trained with the lads and has fitted in brilliantly, I have to say.”
Hurst added: “I just like his attitude around the place. He’s got a smile on his face but when it’s time to work, he works as hard as anybody.
“I’m told he’s one of the last out of the gym. He looks after himself, which is what he said he’d do.
“What you do find is a lot of players will say things and then you find out whether they’re true to their word. I think in Jon’s case, he is.
“I think the lads have had a little bit of a lift from him coming in as well and he’ll be great for us.”