Republic Of Ireland football fans are well used to seeing brave performances from Jon Walters on the pitch but we may now have seen his most courageous display of all.
Walters lost his mother to cancer at the age of 11 and reflected on the loss in an interview with BBC Radio Five Live yesterday. Recalling the moment his father told Jon and his siblings that his mum "is not gonna be around for much longer", the 34-year-old gets visibly upset and speaks of how he "put up a wall and locked it away". Interviewer Tony Livesey also lost his mother at the young age of 13.
‘I put up a wall and locked it away’@BurnleyOfficial forward @JonWalters19 opens up about the death of his mother when he was just 11-years-old
Full interview: https://t.co/EZVUyieiCA pic.twitter.com/ighQ66mmKy
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) March 8, 2018
The response to Walters' interview has been overwhelming and there's no telling how many people he will help by speaking out about his experience. He has since tweeted to say how nervous he was about the interview and how grateful he was to everyone for their support.
I was quite nervous about this coming out yesterday as it’s something I’ve rarely spoke about in 23 years. It’s something that’s helped me immensely and the response to it has been overwhelming. I’ve not had the chance to go through messages yet but I will. Thankyou @tonylivesey https://t.co/aC0ikl6KJ2
— Jonathan Walters (@JonWalters19) March 9, 2018
Walters was born in Merseyside in England and qualified to play for Ireland because his mother was Irish. It's quite clear that she has had a huge influence on his life and career despite her premature passing.
You can listen to the full interview by clicking here.