Walters on Keane: The Whatsapp was a mild version of what happened
Former Republic of Ireland international Jon Walters has said that the leaked WhatsApp message from Stephen Ward last year was actually a mild version of what actually transpired in Ireland camp.
Things weren't always exactly rosie under Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane's leadership and the height of the instability was arguably at its peak when the latter went off at Harry Arter and Walters for missing a training session ahead of a friendly with the USA last summer.
"The Whatsapp was a mild version of what actually happened."@JonWalters19 reveals how the atmosphere changed towards the final days of Martin O'Neill & Roy Keane's time with Ireland. #VMSport pic.twitter.com/jxbW855Bn5
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 22, 2019
Keane had a go at Walters for his professionalism while the former Stoke City forward was nursing an injury and Walters explained his side of the story on Virgin Media One on Friday night.
"The atmosphere changed but results don't help," said Walters.
"We went a year without winning but the atmosphere was definitely different from when I first met up with the squad. I used to absolutely love meeting up, it was great, you used to always look forward to it, the break from club football.
"Lads would get days off and you didn't really care, you just loved to come meet up and see everyone. Being involved and playing for Ireland is an unbelievable feeling but then in the past year the atmosphere went downhill. It was difficult and it's probably not the best of times to go into it but we all know the leaked WhatsApp and that was probably a mild version of what actually happened.
"There's various things like that which probably changed a bit of perspective on it but then in saying that the manager would look after me as well because at club level, I had injuries where I wasn't playing over the course of two years and he trusted me to play during the games, big important games as well so I've a lot of respect for the manager for doing that for me."
The WhatsApp message was quite explosive by public knowledge standards with Keane and Walters getting into over numerous issues, including some previous incidents during their time at Ipswich Town together.
"Roy was getting on the boys for not training like three days in a row. Johnny’s got a bad knee so he can’t train all the time.
“They were at the training ground and him and Harry were just sitting on the bench, just relaxing and icing themselves and stuff. Roy walked over and was like, ‘Why aren’t you lads training?’ and he obviously blatantly knew why they weren’t training because the manager would have told him.
"And they were like, ‘We can’t do three days in a row’. ‘What are you lot? Professional footballers? That’s a f***ing shambles that is’. They both didn’t say anything and Roy walked off and came back over again, ‘So when are you going to train, I’m sick of people pulling out with injuries, what the f*** is wrong with ya?’ and the lads were like, ‘Listen, we’ve got problems, we do it at our clubs, we can’t do it’. Roy said something under his breath about Johnny and walked off.
“Johnny lost his head, jumped off the bench and walked after him, grabbed his arm and said, “What’s the story Roy? If you’ve got a problem say it to my face, don’t f***ing walk off’ and he was like, ‘I do have a problem, you’re not training, you’re getting soft, it’s no wonder Dyche doesn’t play ya, you’re f***ing always looking for an argument like you are now’ and he was like, ‘No Roy, you are the one trying to cause an argument’, and apparently they were squaring off to each other and having it off and had to be pulled off each other. All the lads were grabbing Johnny away from him… Johnny was going to kill him.
“Roy brought up something about when they were at Ipswich, they had like a falling out as well. He said, ‘You’re threatening me again Jon, like you did at Ipswich’, and Johnny was like, ‘Yeah what, are you going to be a s***house again and send me my fine in the post rather than saying it to my face?’