Jonathan Walters breaks down in tears speaking about losing his Irish mother to cancer when he was 11
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Jonathan Walters breaks down in tears speaking about losing his Irish mother to cancer when he was 11

REPUBLIC of Ireland Jonathan Walters broke down in tears as he recalled losing his mother to cancer when he was just 11-years-old.

The Burnley forward is a fan favourite among Irish supporters due to his passion on the pitch, but few know where it comes from.

Speaking about his heartbreaking loss, Walters explained that everything he has done in his career as a professional football was for his mum.

He said: "You know, just a little while ago I wouldn't have spoken about this to anyone, and I mean anyone, not even my wife.

"I lock it away. That's how I deal with it. And I did from the day she passed away.

"I remember getting told, probably a week before, by my dad. He just pulled us into a room and said 'look, your mum's not going to be around for much longer'.

"I took myself off and I probably would have cried for about six hours, seven hours. But I don't think I ever grieved for her.

"I was upset, I was very very upset for a long time, and every time it was brought up later I'd get upset again. But I don't think I grieved... I just got on with it.

"I remember I went to school the day after she died, and my mates were like 'are you alright?', and you pretend that you are".

Walters, who was born in Merseyside to Irish mam Helen Brady, added: "I was Year Six at the time, so you are one of the big boys in school, so you put on a show, and I think from that point you put up a wall, and it is still there."

At this stage, the 34-year-old broke down in tears as he continued recounting the loss to BBC presenter Tony Livesey, who himself lost his mother as a 13-year-old.

"I've got kids the same age as I was," he said.

"You worry for your kids now. You worry for your kids and how they're going to grow up and what they're going to deal with in their lives so yeah, how do you deal with it?"

Walters said that he doesn't talk about his mother's death regularly, not even to his wife.

He added that his mother had been the biggest influence on his playing career, which saw him rack up 51 caps for the country of her birth.

"I lock it away," he said. "That's how I deal with it, I lock it away. I probably did from the day she passed away.

"When you are younger you want to do eveything to make your mum proud, or your parents proud.

"That's what I did when I was younger. Everything I did I did for my mum.

"That's why when I was 16 or 17 and was going to become a footballer I wanted to play for Ireland, because my mum was Irish."

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