JONATHAN WALTERS admits that the bitter disappointment of Euro 2012 failure will motivate the Republic of Ireland when they kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Walters has been handed a place in the starting line-up alongside captain Robbie Keane for the opening World Cup match against minnows Kazakhstan on Friday evening.
Stoke City’s frontman gets his big chance after being restricted to three substitute appearances when Ireland lost their three Group matches in the Euro 2012 Finals.
That was particularly disappointing because Giovanni Trapattoni’s men went into the summer tournament on the back of a 14-match unbeaten run in internationals.
“The Euros left us with a sour taste in the mouth,” said Walters in looking ahead to the Kazakhstan match. “It was good to be there, but we didn’t do well at all.
“Once you have been to an international tournament, you want to have that experience again, so we want to do well and prove that we can qualify for the World Cup.”
While Walters has been assured of a place in Trapattoni’s line-up, team-mates Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson will also be hoping to feature against Kazakhstan.
The Irish trio are among eight City players who will be on international duty over the next few days with American pair Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu set to create a piece of Club history when they play for their country in a double-header against Jamaica.
The two Potters newcomers will be playing at the Columbus Crew stadium where City took on the MLS side in a pre-season friendly five weeks ago.
Other City players who will be in action for their countries are fellow summer-signing Charlie Adam, who is in the Scotland squad for their qualifiers against Serbia and Macedonia, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic with Bosnia and Wilson Palacios with Honduras.
Begovic hopes to be lining up in Bosnia’s clashes with Liechtenstein and Latvia, while Palacios is set to face a World Cup double-header against Cuba.