JONATHAN WALTERS completed a remarkable climb back to the top of the game when he appeared for the Republic of Ireland in the Euro 2012 Finals.
The 28-year-old striker was used as a substitute by Giovanni Trapattoni in each of Ireland’s three group matches in the tournament after his first international goal in the Play-Off against Estonia seven months earlier helped clinch their place in Poland & Ukraine.
Walters had earned his international recognition after rising to prominence with Stoke City following his £2.75 million move from Ipswich Town in 2010.
It was his reward for showing great determination to bounce back in a career which began with Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers, but then saw him drop down to the lower leagues where he played for the likes of Chester City and Wrexham.
The frontman sprung to the attention of several Championship clubs while with Chester and it was Ipswich who eventually paid out £150,000 in 2007.
After a three year spell at Portman Road in which he became skipper of the side, it was Tony Pulis who handed him the chance to climb into the top-flight.
Walters soon caught the eye with his energy and enthusiasm which were major factors in him emerging as joint leading scorer with Kenwyne Jones.
Two of his goals came in the FA Cup semi-final triumph over former club Bolton which led to him then appearing in the Final against Manchester City at Wembley.
He then forged a productive strike partnership with Peter Crouch in his second season at the Britannia Stadium as he reached double figures once again and played his part in the Club’s progress to the Round of 32 in the Europa League.