Former Republic of Ireland striker Jonathan Walters has applied to become next chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association when Gordon Taylor steps down later this year. 

Taylor, who has served as chief executive since 1981, announced in November his intention to resign at the end of the current season. 

Applications for the post close on 19 February, with interviews following in March, before a choice of candidates are put before the PFA membership. 

His main rival for the role is ex-Port Vale defender Ben Purkiss, who has served as PFA chairman since 2017, having a fractious working relationship with Taylor during that time. 

Walters outlined his motivation for seeking the role in an interview with London Times football correspondent Henry Winter this morning, during which he paid tribute to Taylor's leadership of the association. 

"I'm very passionate about the PFA. I feel I am the right man for the PFA because players can relate to me. I’ve played in every league. I’ve captained clubs, I’ve captained my country [Ireland], I’ve been involved on the management committee of the PFA. I like leading."

Walters, who currently sits on the PFA management committee, outlined his previous disputes with Roy Keane, both at Ipswich Town and at international level.

"I've been frozen out in certain places. I asked to leave Ipswich because I wanted to play in the Premier League and set my family up (financially). There was a frank exchange of views with Roy [Keane, the manager].

"Things were said that weren’t right, completely below the belt, very personal, and because of that I wasn’t going to back down. I don’t get pushed over by people easily. I don’t get intimidated.

Walters added that he was hurt by Keane's comments over his commitment to the Irish cause but said he would be happy to meet with the former Manchester United captain.

"There was a huge issue with Ireland which hurt me a lot. I was very proud to be an Ireland player. I trained in the morning, was in that much pain, 10pm ice machines, altitude machines, ski machine, ropes, tedious exercises. But if Roy was to ring me and say, 'Fancy a coffee?' I’d say yes."

Walters played for Bolton Wanderers, Ipswich Town and Stoke City, amongst others, in a 19-year playing career and earned 54 caps for Republic of Ireland between 2010 and 2018, scoring 14 goals. 

He was named FAI senior player of the year in 2015 for his performances in Ireland's successful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.