Keane gives Walters Irish boost

ROY Keane is confident that his skipper, Jon Walters, will break into the Republic of Ireland squad.Walters has arguably been Ipswich Town's most consistent performer this season, and it's no coincidence that he missed the club's only defeat of the last 15 games, the Boxing Day reverse at Crystal Palace.

Carl Marston

by Carl Marston

ROY Keane is confident that his skipper, Jon Walters, will break into the Republic of Ireland squad.

Walters has arguably been Ipswich Town's most consistent performer this season, and it's no coincidence that he missed the club's only defeat of the last 15 games, the Boxing Day reverse at Crystal Palace.

Keane is a big fan of the 26-year-old front-runner, and he predicts a big future ahead.

"How he's not playing in the Premiership, I'll never know," insisted Keane.

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"If he keeps performing for Ipswich, like he has been, then I'm sure he'll play for Ireland. That will happen.

"He's a real good leader for us. He has a great attitude and he set up a couple of the goals last weekend (3-2 win over Coventry).

"People lead in different ways. He has a great attitude in training, has great respect for the staff and has a terrific work-rate. He has a lot going for him.

"There's no doubt in my mind that Jon could be playing in the Premiership," added Keane.

Walters has operated as both a striker and a wide-midfielder this term, and is the club's joint leading scorer with six goals.

He has also played in every game, with the exception of his one-match suspension for the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace.

He will again be one of the first names on Keane's team-sheet for tomorrow's FA Cup fourth round trip to Southampton.

"We're very lucky to have Jon. He did not play in the Crystal Palace game, and we certainly missed him," continued Keane.

"It's not just what you see on a Saturday, but what also happens during the week. He's a big, big player for us.

"It's certainly a pleasure to work with him."

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