Jon Walters has revealed the dirtiest player he’s ever played against – and it’s also his mate.
For that man is three-time Premier League winner – and Walters’ former Stoke team-mate – Robert Huth.
Walters says the German centre-back knows all the dark arts of getting under the skin of his opponents and allies. Even if it did mean leaving them with no toenails.
“Rob Huth every day in training would stand on my feet. He was on my team as well. Every day,” Walters told Paddy Power News after recording the Liquid Football Podcast.
“He is one defender you would not want to mess around with. I played against him once actually with Leicester and he had few tricks to put you off.”
Elbowing, pinching and pulling an opponent’s shirt are sins Walters has confessed to committing in a football sanctuary – but Huth has done worse.
Walters added: “He is clever with it, I’ll say it in another podcast, he is very clever but he is very good. He is one of my good friends but he was the dirtiest one.
He was the one that everybody hated playing against.
“It is just part of him being him. It was part of his game and part of his training. Everybody knew what he was like and he probably did it clumsily.
“You just had no toenails. Whenever they went black and fell off he would stand on them again.”
Walters also talked Paddy Power News through the moment he ended up relegating the club that had handed him his big Premier League chance – Bolton.
The striker made his first professional appearances for Bolton but ended up being the man to send them into the Championship for the first time in 11 years – something that still irks Wanderers fans.
Walters scored once in a 2-2 draw which consigned them to the drop.
“I knew a few players in the team as well. When you are playing in a game like that it was a difficult one,” Walters said.
“It was a penalty the second one. The first one shouldn’t have been a goal, I have gone up for the header as [Adam] Bogdan has caught it and I have pushed him in the goal. The referee has given the goal, but it shouldn’t have been a goal.
“Then Crouchy dived for the second goal. I took the penalty and got the equaliser but you have just got to play a game of football.”
Although it was eight years since Walters had left the Reebok Stadium – as it will forever be known – he still had some links back to the club which gave him his first opportunity.
He added: “I knew Kevin Davies and it was difficult. I didn’t know the others or the results in the other games.
“I know they needed… it was when Man City won the league and QPR stayed up didn’t they. It is just a game of football. You have just got to play it and put everything else aside.”
However, Walters was keen to point out it was not just him that relegated Owen Coyle and Co – it was more down to them only winning 10 matches all season.
“I don’t know if people said stuff in the game but it’s not a nice thing to attach that,” Walters said.
“That’s not me scoring that’s relegating Bolton, that’s Bolton’s season that, what they have or haven’t done during the season.”