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Dublin: 12°C Friday 14 May 2021

Ireland poised to shuffle the pack for all-or-nothing Italy game as Walters doesn't recover in time

The Ireland boss says his team will need to be more “energetic” tomorrow night.

Walters in the background as Ireland train.
Walters in the background as Ireland train.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

- Ben Blake reports from the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille 

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill has all but ruled Jon Walters out of tomorrow’s final Euro 2016 group match with Italy.

Nothing less than a win will do for the Boys in Green in Lille if they are to avoid elimination from the tournament.

Walters has been attempting to regain his fitness in time to feature, having aggravated an Achilles problem in the 1-1 draw with Sweden. However, the 32-year-old didn’t take part in this morning’s training session in Versailles so there is little or no chance of him returning.

“Jon didn’t train today so I would have to say that he is very doubtful for the game,” said O’Neill during this evening’s pre-match press conference at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

The Derryman is set to make a number of changes in order to bring some freshness into a team which showed signs of fatigue in the 3-0 loss to Belgium, and he emphasised the need for more energy.

“We have to be as energetic as we possibly can be,” added O’Neill. “We will consider things during the course of the evening, but whatever comes or goes, the players are ready for it.

“We’ve done a little bit of training with those who have not participated in the games and if called up, they’re ready.”

When asked whether he could change the 4-2-3-1 system used in Bordeaux on Saturday, O’Neill added that it could be an option.

If you’re talking about a different type of system, I haven’t a problem with that whatsoever and neither do the players.

“While some things you haven’t practiced as much as others, the players are pretty adept these days at club level.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with that if I thought this was the way to try and win the game.”

Listen to The42′s Ben Blake on the 98FM Euro 2016 Daily podcast throughout the tournament 

We’ve picked the Ireland team that should line out against Italy

‘It’s not a pointless game’ – Italy may have qualified for last 16 but won’t be going easy on Ireland

About the author:

Ben Blake

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