Date: 12th July 2017 at 8:36am
Written by:

Jonathan Walters decided the time was right to leave Stoke last week when he completed a transfer to Burnley.

Walters didn’t need to give it too much thought before coming to Burnley to hold talks after Stoke had accepted the Clarets’ offer for the forward – he then signed a two year deal at Turf Moor.

He told he Official Website: ‘I`m delighted with the move. I`d been at Stoke a long time – there`s only a couple of lads who have been there a bit longer than me – but I just felt the time was right. Things change in football and circumstances change and I just thought the time was right. Stoke had an offer accepted and it was on my toes then. I hadn`t spoken to anyone at Stoke, but I spoke to the manager here and I was delighted it got finalised because I know a few of the boys here and that makes the whole thing easier.’

The opportunity to take up a new and ‘exciting challenge’ here appealed to him but Walters admitted his desire to play for the Republic of Ireland at the World Cup finals in Russia next summer was also on his mind.

Assuming Ireland can qualify, it’ll be the final chance Walters, capped 49 times, will have of playing at the World Cup and regular involvement at Burnley will boost his chances.

Walters said: ‘I see this as a new, exciting challenge and one I am looking forward to. I want to get to the World Cup with Ireland and that was in the back of my mind because it`s about club form first, and hopefully that will carry on.’

Having seen what Burnley achieved from a far last season he went on to say ‘Burnley did ever so well staying in the Premier League last year’ but he also knows what ‘second season syndrome’ can be like.

Adding: ‘If you stand still as a team you can almost go backwards. You have to keep the hunger in the squad because that`s massive. This is a huge year, but my first impressions are that everyone is raring to go again and there`s a good team spirit here. That adds a hell of a lot to the challenge we have ahead.’

The forward wasn’t involved as much under Mark Hughes at Stoke last season as much as he would have liked but Walters recalled a run of 10 games out of 11 when he managed four goals and then got a couple for Ireland too.

Walters admitted he would ‘prefer playing up front’ but will play anywhere and give his all.

‘From Christmas onwards last year I think I played 10 of 11 games up front and scored four, then got a couple with Ireland, so that`s my favourite position. I`ll play anywhere across the front four though and there`s a lot of hard work ahead now to try and get in the team and do well.’

Join The Vital Debate