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Football: Blackburn suspend Irish star in new club scandal.

Byline: Andy DUNN and Simon LENNON

CRISIS-HIT Blackburn have been rocked by another scandal which has forced them to suspend their top Irish teenage striker.

Jonathan Walters was seen as the club's hottest young property but his Ewood Park career is over after a serious 'breach of club discipline'.

Walters, who has England and Ireland battling for his allegiance, will not play for the club again after an internal investigation into claims that players' items had gone missing from the training-ground dressing room.

The trouble came in the week boss Graeme Souness had to deal with the fall-out from the exposure of Garry Flitcroft as the Premiership's most infamous love rat.

Rovers chief executive John Williams confirmed: "Jonathan Walters has been suspended for a breach of club discipline. He is currently having trials with another club."

Middlesbrough are the club believed to be ready to hand Wallasey-born Walters a lifeline.

Ewood Park insiders said he was a "quiet lad" and that his actions were "totally out of character."

Souness rates Walters highly but accepted the findings of the investigation.

Walters, 18, was the star of the Rovers team that reached the Youth Cup Final last season and was considered a certainty to break into the first team next season.

He was unavailable for comment last night, but his father, James, said: "It's not true. He is still in the Blackburn academy."

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WALTERS: Suspended
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 31, 2002
Words:235
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