We know that Jon Walters is a hero. Sure even the Sunday Times were enamoured with him enough in 2015 to crown him the footballer of the year. His highlight of a year of highlights was undoubtedly his star turn in the Euro 2016 playoffs against Bosnia.
We know that his speech from that game will send the manliest man into floods of tears, but the latest revelation about Walters that night will further cement his place into the hearts of Irish football fans everywhere. According to the Sunday Times, Walters had an ear and throat infection for those games. It takes more than that to stop Walters though, and he stocked up on antibiotics and caffeine to play:
I was playing right midfield and it was tough, I was up and down, tracking the full-back. But I got my second wind. Adrenaline gets you through. And caffeine. A lot of caffeine. Before games I tend to have loads of coffee.
As if that wasn't enough to deal with, Walters had the memory of missing a penalty against Chelsea in his mind when he stepped up against Bosnia. We know that players need to keep a clear mind when taking penalties, and we've been scared with some of the thoughts that have gone through Johnny Sexton's mind when he's taking a kick.
So what was going through the mind of the sick Jon Walters as he stepped up?
I was getting stick from their players, people stamping on the spot, and because it took so long it was a bit surreal. I looked up and everyone in the stadium had their phones out. All you could see were lights. You thought, ‘Bloody hell’. But then you think you’ve got this one chance, and don’t want it taken away from you. You’ve got to be calm. You’ve got to know what you’re doing.
That takes some serious balls.
Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE