Mixed Emotions For Walters
JON WALTERS experienced mixed emotions on his international debut as the Republic of Ireland were beaten by Norway . . . but he did enough to satisfy manager Giovanni Trapattoni that he has a role to play at that level.
The 27-year-old striker joined his Stoke City team-mate Glenn Whelan in Ireland's line-up for the second half of the game in Dublin and linked up well with Reading's Shane Long to stretch the Norway defence on occasions.
But Erik Huseklepp snatched a later winner for the visitors to take some of the shine of what was a proud moment for Walters.
Trapattoni was pleased with the debutant's contribution in the second half, however, saying: "He is another option for us now.
"He showed us that he can defend a ball, has good technique and is strong. He plays a different system at his club to what we play."
Walters will now turn his attention to building upon a promising start to his City career in the hope that it will bring him more recognition.
"My first aim is to do well at Stoke and hope that another chance comes along in the future," he commented. "Although it was a great moment making my debut, it was bittersweet because I am disappointed with the defeat."
Walter's strike partner for the second period had fired Ireland into a fifth minute lead from the penalty spot, but Norway hit back thanks largely to the efforts of Blackburn Rovers star Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Not only did Pedersen equalise with a stunning free kick before for the break, he also set up the winner for Huseklepp.
While Whelan played for the full 90 minutes and Walters came on for the second half to replace Kevin Doyle, the third 'W' from Stoke Marc Wilson remained on the substitute's bench and will have to wait for his debut.