Football - Pulis hails "inspirational" Walters

Stoke manager Tony Pulis feels Potters forward Jon Walters is an inspiration to players lower down the football ladder.

PA Sport

After failing to establish himself at Blackburn or Bolton early in his career, Walters moved on to Hull, Wrexham and then Chester, where a fruitful spell earned him a transfer to Ipswich in 2007.

His good form continued at Portman Road and in 2010 he was recruited by Stoke for an initial fee of £2.75million.

He has since developed into a firm fans' favourite at the Britannia Stadium - as well as breaking into the Republic of Ireland team - and last weekend's home clash with Chelsea was the 73rd consecutive Barclays Premier League match the 29-year-old has started.

It was not a happy occasion, with Stoke hammered 4-0 and Walters incredibly scoring two own goals and missing a penalty.

However, he swiftly recovered and scored twice at the right end in Tuesday's 4-1 FA Cup third-round replay victory against Crystal Palace, prompting Pulis to speak about the player's "British bulldog spirit."

"He has been a great signing for this football club," Pulis added. "His attitude and application is absolutely first class and I think he is an inspiration to players at the lower level who are young enough but have not quite made it to the top, in respect of keeping going and trying.

"He got released as a young player, dropped down the divisions, ended up at Chester at one stage, and from that point onwards his career turned completely on its head.

"He has climbed and now he has played 73 consecutive games for us in the Premier League. He has been a dream. Everything about the kid is first class. The mixture between what we want as a football club and what Jon gives us is absolutely perfect."

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