"He's going to be struggling" - Martin O'Neill issues fitness update on Jonathan Walters ahead of Belgium clash

The Stoke City forward has struggled with an Achilles problem over the past six weeks

Jonathan Walters, Euro 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer 

Jonathan Walters will "struggle" to be fit for Ireland's Group E clash with Belgium this weekend, according to manager Martin O'Neill.

Addressing media today, O'Neill confirmed that Walters has struggled to shake an Achilles injury and will most likely miss the game on Saturday afternoon in Bordeaux.

"He is going to be stuggling," O'Neill told a press conference this afternoon, "He thinks if he doesn't make this game that he will maybe make it for the Italian game.

"He would have to do a lot of improving or there would have to be a lot of improvement for him to come through and be ready for [the game]. If the game was tomorrow he wouldn't make it."

When asked whether he would be forced to change the way the team set up in his absence he responded: "I will have to have a look at it. We'll see how we approach it. I'll need to sit down and look at the [Belgium v Italy] game in its entirety". 

He was reluctant to name any possible substitutes for Walters, claiming "there might be people in this room who are not our friends."


Jonathan Walters goes off injured during Ireland's 1-1 draw with Sweden on Monday. Image:  ©INPHO/Donall Farmer