IRELAND STRIKER JON Walters limped away from Malahide with an ice pack strapped to his leg this afternoon.
The full squad trained at Gannon Park ahead of the trip to Stockholm for Friday’s World Cup qualifier with Sweden with the quartet of Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, John O’Shea and David Forde all taking part having sat out yesterday’s session.
Just before the end, however, Walters hit the deck after being caught by fellow frontman Shane Long.
Speaking to the media today, coach Alan Kelly says that although Walters will be assessed by medical staff, he doesn’t believe it’s serious to keep him out of the upcoming double-header.
“It’s a bit of a bang,” Kelly said. “He stepped across the ball as Shane Long came in and hit the nerves on the outside of the leg. It’s just an impact injury so I think he’ll be okay. It’s not a twist or anything like that. After the initial burning went, he got up and got on with it. He’s a tough lad, Jon.”
Kelly went on to praise the commitment shown in training by the players.
“What is great for us and as a coaching staff, when you look at the willingness of the players. They weren’t going through the motions there. They know come Friday a team has to be picked and they want to be part of that team.
You see the intensity in a training game and lads going into tackles. Sometimes we don’t want them as hard as they were then. You want them to be willing. You want to be fighting for a place and that is what they are doing and that is great to see.”
Paul Green played for the ‘first team’ in the training match alongside Whelan with Robbie Keane partnering Long up front. The Leeds midfielder is vying for a starting berth with James McCarthy, who has played every one of the seven international fixtures since Euro 2012.
“Yesterday there was a different set of bibs so that is what training is for – looking at multiple options, trying different players and different systems,” said Kelly.
“Just because what you see in training, I know it can be like a photograph in terms of is that going to be the starting 11 but we have had different formations and different lads in different bibs over the last few days.
“We know the job Paul can do. He works really hard in midfield. He is always pressing the opposition midfielders, dropping off and covering space. He knows about Paul and the job he did against Poland but everybody is here.”