Euro 2016: Jonathan Walters misses Republic training with Achilles setback

Jonathan Walters says he wasn't able to perform at his best against Sweden
Jonathan Walters says he wasn't able to perform at his best against Sweden
Euro 2016
Host: France Dates: 10 June to 10 July
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC TV, BBC Radio, the BBC Sport website and app. Live text commentary on every game on BBC Sport website.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill insists injured striker Jonathan Walters could still feature during their Euro 2016 campaign.

Walters, 32, sat out training on Wednesday having limped out of Monday's opening draw against Sweden as his recent Achilles problem returned.

The Republic face Belgium in their next Group E game in Bordeaux on Saturday and play Italy in Lille on 22 June.

"He thinks he is going to be able to make the Italian game," O'Neill said.

Walters, the current Republic player of the year, was the only absentee from Wednesday morning's session at the squad's training base in Versailles.

When asked afterwards if Walters had a chance of playing against Belgium, O'Neill admitted: "he is going to be struggling".

"If the game was tomorrow, he wouldn't make it.

"There would have to be a lot of improvement for him to make it.

"We can play without Jon.

"He's been influential in our games, he has probably been our talisman, but if he's not fit we've got a number of players who can step in and do really well for us."

Walters was replaced by James McClean in the 63rd minute, who would be the obvious choice to come into the starting line-up in Bordeaux, if the Stoke City man is ruled out.

Skipper Robbie Keane bullish for Belgium clash

O'Neill was upbeat about the team's prospects against Belgium, ranked number two in the world, in the wake of an encouraging performance against Sweden in the Stade de France.

Wes Hoolahan's opener for the Irish was cancelled out by a Ciaran Clark own goal but the manager has taken the positives from the 1-1 draw.

"If that performance doesn't lift you, nothing will.

"We will have to show the same attitude again, go and compete and be strong on the ball."

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