Walters can laugh off Chelsea nightmare
Jon Walters can laugh it off now, but Chelsea were the opponents on one of the more freakish afternoons of his career.
The summer signing, while playing for Stoke in January 2013 against Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium, netted two own goals - the fourth player to do so in the Premier League - and also missed a penalty in a 4-0 defeat.
It says much for the forward’s character that three days later he scored twice in an FA Cup win over Crystal Palace.
Walters is in line for his Clarets bow against the Blues tomorrow, and hopes for better fortunes: “I was on fire!
“It happens, one of only a few who has scored a couple of own goals in a game.
“I laughed it off straight away, went home and got battered, the kids put it on telly straight away laughing at me.
“You have ups and downs, it doesn’t bother me. there are a lot worse things that can happen to you in life.”
And he is licking his lips at the prospect of getting on the end of some crosses from Republic of Ireland colleague Robbie Brady, who he rates highly: “I think Robbie on his day is the best delivery I’ve seen.
“His delivery is worth a lot, especially from set pieces.
“He can score free kicks and play in a number of positions. I played against him at left back and he’s very difficult to play against.
“He can play left mid and he played centre mid for Ireland at the Euros. It was interesting but I expect Robbie and Jeff (Hendrick) to step on again and not rest on their laurels. I’ve seen that in pre-season how hard they are working behind the scenes. They’re pretty close.”
Brady and Hendrick join Walters, Stephen Ward and Kevin Long as current Ireland internationals, and he feels that understanding can only help Burnley.
Long linked up with the squad for the first time at the end of last season, and Walters was impressed: “I didn’t know too much about him when he came in with Ireland during the summer. I knew he came in towards the end of last season and did really well. he came in and I was really impressed by him.
“I know Martin likes players who can attack the ball in both boxes, I thought big Shane Duffy could but he was like a magnet all week heading and kicking things. He did really well. come the start of the season he might have to wait for his chance but again, with Ben (Mee) and Tarky (James Tarkowski), we’ll see, there’s another good talent.”
And the former Bolton man expects Burnley to compensate for the loss of Andre Gray after his £18m sale to Watford: “We’ve lost a striker who scored a lot of goals last year and you will miss certain aspects of his game but, I think the strength of the team is the unity. We will miss him and whether we bring in someone else I don’t know, I think we’ve got enough anyway without him.”