Matt Holland emphasises why Ireland should "take the risk" on Jon Walters against Sweden

Nathan Murphy chats to the ex-Ireland midfielder in Paris

BY Raf Diallo 18:47 Saturday 11 June 2016, 18:47 11 Jun 2016

Jonathan Walters ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Former Ireland midfielder Matt Holland believes Martin O'Neill should take a gamble on Jon Walters for the Sweden game.

The Stoke forward is working his way back to fitness but still has a chance of playing in the Euro 2016 opener on Monday.

And given his importance, Holland believes it is worth the risk to play Walters.

"I would [take the risk]. I think the first game is such a crucial one as well and if you look at the group, if we get off to a good start and get three points then all of a sudden you're almost looking at the last-16 already and he was such a key figure, someone who really led from the front [in qualifying] and if you're in the trenches, he's someone you want alongside you," he told Nathan Murphy.

"I'd be willing to take the gamble because he's a fit lad as well. He's someone who looks after himself incredibly well. I know a couple of physios at Ipswich and they speak incredibly highly of his professionalism. Even when he's fit in training, he does extra just to keep himself fully at it. So I would take the risk because I know how fit he is."

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