Jonathan Walters: Former Burnley and Republic of Ireland forward on retirement

Jonathan Walters in action for Republic of Ireland against Wales in 2018
Walters made his final Republic of Ireland appearance against Wales last September

Retirement bites us all at some point, but for Jonathan Walters, it is "heartbreaking".

The former Republic of Ireland forward announced his retirement on Friday, an Achilles injury literally becoming his Achilles heel and "finishing him off", as he wrote in a statement on social media.

But for the 35-year-old, who played club football for Burnley but was on-loan at Championship side Ipswich this season, it is international football that is proving his hardest goodbye.

"It's the most difficult part," he told BBC Radio 5 Live Drive. "When you're watching Ireland, that's heartbreaking,"

Walters won 54 caps during his eight-year international career, scoring 14 goals, and made his final appearance for Ireland in their Uefa Nations League defeat by Wales in September 2018.

"I haven't played a lot of club football the past couple of years, and I've always said I could park that to the side, but the one thing I'll miss the most is the international side," he said.

"Everything about it - from meeting up with the team, to all the staff there from the bus drivers to the physios, the security guys, everyone.

"Apart from that, I am a big believer in what is meant to be is meant to be."

Walters played a large portion of his career in the Premier League with Stoke where he was an FA Cup runner-up in 2011, as well as playing five seasons in the Championship with Ipswich where he won the club's Player of the Year award in 2007.

He said he was "very surprised" by the reaction he received after announcing his retirement, though added it had been "strange".

"I didn't realise people held me in such high regard.

"Looking back, looking at all the photos, that's when it gets you a bit.

"I've managed to live my dream and it's been a great journey along the way."

As for the future, Walters is very much undecided as to his next career move, though he has said he will start his coaching badges in order to help his young son.

"I'll take a variety of routes and see which path is the right one to go down," he said. "I've got involved with media work over the past year or so and really enjoyed that, because you can give your perspective on football.

"A different route is an agency. The agent who looks after me is an ex-player. He went into it looking after four of five players maximum, and he said to me if I fancied it when I finished I could help him out and he'd teach me. That interests me, because I wouldn't be doing it for a financial reason.

"I've been clever with my finances down the year and it's not something that I need, I'd do it to look after people and guide them in the way I've looked after myself during my career.

"I've always done things my own way, and done it the right way."

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