Jon Walters has given a superb interview to Henry Winter of the Times today, which we urge you to read, and then swell with pride at the fact that Walters plays for Ireland.
It's a searingly honest interview, in which Walters opens up on the impact of the premature death of his mother, Helen. She died of cancer when Jon was just 11, and upon her death bed, Walters promised her that he would play for Ireland. Walters openly admits in the interview that he went through no true grieving process (he went to school the day after her death), and he still finds it difficult to speak about her loss - he breaks down when chatting to Winter.
Walters admits he had a few difficult years, which ended in his being kicked out of Blackburn Rovers. The reason behind his departure from the club had never been elucidated, until now.
After mum passed away, I had a few bad years, hanging round with my mates on the street, going out drinking, living the wrong way. Mum would have told me off....
....[that's] why I left Blackburn. It’s always there, always bothers me. I was absolutely flying, one of the top scorers [in the youth team], but I was very lonely. Dad used to never watch me play. Ever. I was used to mums and dads watching [their sons]. This will probably hurt him. I don’t mean to. But he never used to come. It upset me.
I did something very stupid at Blackburn. I stole some money from someone. That’s why I left Blackburn. No one knows this. I didn’t need the money. I had a contract, lived there, didn’t spend any money. It was a cry for help.
What happened at Blackburn wasn’t me. I was brought up right. I wasn’t from a rough family. It haunts me a lot. So, so stupid.
Walters returns to Blackburn in the League Cup next week.
Read the interview in full over on The Times website.