At 35-years-old and in the twilight of his career, the last thing Jon Walters needed was another injury. However, a ruptured Achilles suffered in September whilst on loan at Ipswich Town is set to keep the Irish striker out of action for the majority of the season.
"Worst news you could hear as a footballer"
Since signing for Burnley in a £3 million move from Stoke City before the start of the 2017-18 campaign, Walters has found it difficult to find any sort of form or fitness, making just five appearances for the Clarets due to a recurring knee problem.
In a final bid to recapture the efficiency and effectiveness that saw him a regular in the Premier League for Stoke over several seasons, Walters joined Ipswich on an initial five-month loan deal. Yet he picked up this latest setback in just his third game for the club he starred for between 2006 and 2010.
Then came the news he didn’t want to receive. Walters told TalkSport that he “went to see a top specialist in London but it was the worst news you could hear as a footballer when he told me I would be out for six months, taking me to March.”
"Going to the gym six or seven days a week"
Yet the hard-working attacking player is determined to extend his career for at least a couple of seasons. He explained, “I am back at Burnley and going to the gym at the training ground six or seven days a week. The focus is on my upper body to at least keep my heart going.”
However, it remains to be seen if the stalwart of the English game can make a comeback from such a substantial injury. If his recovery goes to plan he could be available again in March but it will be challenging for him to find any sort of match fitness before the season ends in May.
With the likes of Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes and Matej Vydra ahead of him in the pecking order at Turf Moor, Walters could be looking for pastures new if his contract is left to run out at the end of the season.
Despite making almost 600 club appearances, of which the majority have been in the top two tiers of English football, this injury could unfortunately spell the beginning of the end for a player who has been underrated across the game but valued and appreciated by every manager that has worked with him.
Not the most glamorous of players but an old-fashioned warhorse who would chip in with the odd goal, Walters underpinned the attitude and desire of a Stoke team that overachieved in the Premier League for so many seasons.