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Jon Walters emerges as a doubt for Ireland's crucial World Cup qualifier

Mark Hughes revealed today that the attacker is set to undergo knee surgery and he could consequently miss the Wales game.

Jon Walters is considered an important player for the Irish team.
Jon Walters is considered an important player for the Irish team.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

JON WALTERS HAS emerged as a doubt for Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales in March after Mark Hughes revealed that his player is set to undergo surgery on a knee problem.

Considered an important player for the Irish team, Walters has two goals in 17 appearances in all competitions for Stoke this season.

And after picking up a knock in the team’s 4-1 loss to Liverpool last month, Hughes confirmed that the 33-year-old was set for a spell on the sidelines.

“We are missing Jonny Walters unfortunately, who is suffering a problem with his knee,” he told reporters.

As a consequence of that he is going to be missing for a little bit, so that leaves us short up front to be perfectly honest.”

Walters was Ireland’s Player of the Year in 2015 after scoring a number of key goals in the European Championship qualifiers.

However, injury problems later restricted his game time at Euro 2016, with Martin O’Neill recently admitting the attacker was not ready for the tournament.

I thought he would be okay but in hindsight now he was probably never really fit,” the Ireland boss said. “He started the game against Sweden and eventually came off and played some of the game against France but wasn’t properly right.

“He was a major loss to us considering he had really been our talisman in the qualification campaign.”

Group leaders Ireland host Wales on 24 March, in a game that will likely go some way towards deciding both sides’ World Cup qualification fate.

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Paul Fennessy

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