One to Watch - Jonathan Walters
Name: Jonathan Walters
Date of Birth: 20/9/1983
Nationality: Republic of Ireland
Former Clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Hull City, Crewe Alexandra, Barnsley, Hull City, Scunthorpe United, Wrexham, Chester City, Ipswich Town
League Appearances (Goals): 310 (60)
International Appearances (Goals): 4 (1)
Stat of the Day: Jonathan Walters scored 5 goals in 7 appearances in the FA Cup last season
It may seem fitting to make a witty, unseemly comment about scrutinizing Rory Delap`s throws or Stoke`s excessive use of the long ball, but seeing as I`m a decent guy, and feel the flak Stoke have to endure over their style of play is unwarranted and wearisome we`ll avoid all controversy surrounding the situation and focus on one of their talented players in Jonathan Walters. Walters's meteoric rise up the leagues is matched only by his initially perilous fall down the English football pyramid and it is this that has surely stood him in good stead throughout his initial journey in the top flight. Admired by Neil Warnock and having been courted by QPR over the summer of 2010, the Republic of Ireland international epitomises his team`s hard-working and fighting spirit.
It`s no wonder Warnock is a big fan of Walters; his work-rate is second to none and he has admirably stepped up to the challenge of performing for a Premier League and already has 17 goals in all competitions for his new club. Having been employed either out on the wing or up front, the Republic of Ireland international can perform admirably wherever asked to. Instead of focusing on Stoke`s reputation, it may be wise to concentrate on other aspects of their game, and Walters will surely be at the centre of all of The Potter`s attacking presence.
Walters started his career making his way through Blackburn Rovers' youth and reserve teams where he scored prolifically but failed to break into the first team. He then joined Lancashire neighbours Bolton Wanderers for a fee of £50,000 in 2001, despite interest from numerous clubs. Walters showed obvious talent, but also had a greater commitment to living the good life than working hard in training and Sam Allardyce soon lost patience with Walters and short loan spells followed at Hull City, Crewe and Barnsley, before the attacking midfielder eventually signed for Hull on a permanent deal in 2004.
He made thirty seven appearances for The Tigers, but despite only managing two goals he was sold to Welsh side Wrexham. Another mediocre stay at another club meant the Merseyside-born striker soon joined the Dragons` rivals Chester City - in somewhat acrimonious circumstances having joined as a free agent without informing his former club. It was at The Deva Stadium where Walters began to show his true potential. He scored nine goals in twenty six league games as well putting in some impressive performances which drew the attention of several championship clubs, and paved the way to his transfer to Ipswich Town in 2007, having impressed former Ipswich and QPR manager Jim Magilton in an FA Cup tie between the two.
Walters scored his first goal for Ipswich in a 2-1 victory over QPR in 2007 and at the end of the 2007/2008 season his outstanding season was recognised and was honoured with the Boxholders' & Corporate Sponsors' Player of The Year and Players' Player of The Year awards. He started the 2010/2011 season as captain of Ipswich, but a much publicised fall out with manager Roy Keane led to Walters being sold to Stoke City for an initial £2.75 million on a four year contract, after 136 league appearances and thirty goals for The Tractor Boys.