Walters ‘settled’ on and off the pitch

The 27-year-old has made a notable contribution for the Potters

since joining from Ipswich in August and last weekend scored his

first Premier League goal to secure a 1-0 victory against

Blackburn, one of his former clubs. Walters played for Blackburn in

his youth before being signed by current Rovers manager Sam

Allardyce for Bolton, but he made only a handful of appearances for

Wanderers and moved on to various lower-league outfits after that.

The Birkenhead-born player admits he did not look after himself

properly as a youngster, but now things have calmed down for him

away from football, Walters feels he will be able to make the most

of his return to top-flight competition. “I’ve done well and

settled in nicely,” Walters said. “I’m working hard on and off the

pitch and settling into the team. “Getting everything sorted off

the pitch helps on it and the people at the club, the backroom

staff, have helped me to do that. “If you can settle off the pitch,

it all comes together on it.” Walters also netted in Stoke’s

Carling Cup win over Shrewsbury and was controversially denied a

league goal on his Potters debut when his late header against

Tottenham was adjudged not to have crossed the line. His strike

against Blackburn went some way to making up for that

disappointment and now Walters is looking to get one over on

another of his former employers when Stoke travel to Bolton after

the international break. “It was nice to get it,” Walters said of

his winner at the weekend. “Your first goal in the Premier League

is massive and it was a little bit sweeter with it being against

one of my former clubs. “Hopefully I can do it again in a couple of

weeks against another one, Bolton.” Tony Pulis’ side will go into

the match at the Reebok Stadium in good form, having bounced back

from three straight league defeats at the start of the season to

record four wins in their last five games in all competitions. That

sequence began with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Aston

Villa, inspired by a team-talk from Pulis, who spoke to the players

at half-time having arrived at the ground after kick-off because he

had been with his family following the death of his mother. The

manager has certainly made a big impression on Walters. “You know

what he has done over the past few years and the sort of manager

that he is,” Walters said. “Nobody expected him to be there that

day but he turned up and it lifted everyone. He is like that around

the place day in, day out and he is great with all the lads. “It’s

like one great big family at Stoke, a great atmosphere between all

the boys. “We didn’t start the season the best but we have really

come to the fore in the last few games. “We are now one of the form

teams in the league and, including the cup game, it is four wins

out of five, which is great. “You’ll get parts of the season where

you are winning games like that and then there will be parts when

you’re on a bad run, so we’ve just got to keep it going as long as

we can now.”