Walters: We’ll tech Kazakhstan apart

By OWEN COWZER in the irish sun on 12/09/2012.


JON WALTERS says Ireland can get three points tomorrow — with the right application.

The Stoke City frontman is set to earn a starting place alongside Robbie Keane.

But Walters revealed he has been spending his time in the hotel room looking at apps rather than taking naps this week.

Giovanni Trapattoni’s video man Brian McCarthy has put together a highlights package on Kazakhstan’s strengths and weaknesses.

He has made it available on a secure website app that all players can access through their laptops and phones.

It is a far cry from when Jack Charlton used to write his important notes on the back of a cigarette packet.

Or even the groans of players about tedious video analysis during Brian Kerr’s time in charge.

But Walters, 28, reckons the extra research available is now crucial to prepare for any game — especially when stepping into the unknown as Ireland will tomorrow.

Walters said: “We’ll start to have a look at the teams and all that stuff will be on the website in the next few days.

“The IT man has a good set-up. He set it up for us so we can download attacking clips, defending clips, set-pieces to have a look at.

“Brian set it up and it’s first-class really.

“It has come more and more into it in the last few years.

“At Stoke, we can log on and other lads have apps on their phones the week before the game.

“You can download everything on each player you’re up against.

“You might pick up little details you might not expect.

“It is important this week when you don’t know what you’ll be facing. I’m sure the manager will get us organised.

“I’m sure towards the game, we’ll know more about them.”

Getting a win against Group C’s bottom seeds will be vital if Ireland are to push for World Cup qualification.

Walters added: “With Germany in the group, it’s important to get points on the board straight away.

“You tend to find towards the end of a campaign that the results early on are more important than you thought at the time.

“So getting a win now is important. We want to get maximum points, then Germany in October is something different.

“With us at home, it will be exciting, it will be a full stadium.

“But first, hopefully we can get off to a good start, that’s the most important thing and then take it from there.

“It’s going to be something different because it’s on an artificial pitch. But you’ve got to get on with that and hopefully get the result to come back on a high.”

Playing on an artificial surface is no real worry for Walters, who believes the pitches are so good nowadays that it makes no difference to the players.

He said: “It’s different but it’s not your bog- standard artificial with sand on top like a five-a-side pitch or anything like that.

“It’s more near enough like a grass pitch.

“Stoke played in Switzerland last year in a Europa League qualifier against Thus.

“And we were thinking before the game that it would be a plastic pitch but it was really good.

“The roll of the ball was a bit different when it was moving slowly. But apart from that and a little bit of a different bounce, it’s not like going back 20 years and plastic pitches. I might get a few burns from slide tackles but that’s about it.

“It may give them an advantage if they play on it all the time.

“Robbie and Darren O’Dea now play in America and they tend to have a few more plastic pitches and Aiden McGeady would play on some in Russia.

“It may give Kazakhstan an advantage but you have to deal with that.”

With Walters sure Ireland’s opponents should not present any major surprises, the biggest issue will be what Ireland can do.

And he admits things are a bit different this week with the squad still adjusting to life without Shay Given and Damien Duff, who have both retired from international football.

He said: “Since I’ve been in the squads, they’ve always been there. It’s different now, but these things happen.

“It happens in all football clubs, you tend to have a shake-up in numbers every few seasons and a complete new team and international football is no different. But Robbie is still around and he’s looking as sharp as ever. You’ve got to be careful to get the mix right — a young squad and some experienced boys as well.

“It’s a good squad. I was sort of comfortable straight away, it’s a really good set of lads where everyone joins in with everything.

“It’s quite an easy group to settle into and it’s good to have the young boys in as well. Everyone gets on really well.”

The changes to the squad are coming after a European Championships disaster in which Ireland finished with the worst record in the competition.

But Walters believes it has already been forgotten about with everyone just looking ahead towards Brazil and World Cup qualification.

He added: “No, it’s not that it’s unmentionable, you just want to put it behind you.

“It’s a disappointing thing, it was great to be there and the build-up was something everyone was looking forward to, but to lose all the games left a sour taste in your mouth. You come back have a few weeks and it’s straight back into club football.

“New campaign now and the squad has a lot of fresh faces in so hopefully there is a lot of exciting times


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