Aaron Curry discusses how Joe Allen is far more important to Wales than he is to Liverpool and how he actually is more important to his nation than Gareth Bale.
Joe Allen has never been the most liked, and certainly not the most influential figure in Liverpool red. He plays in a box to box midfield role, which could explain why he has been overshadowed by other talents such as Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho.
Ever since signing from Swansea in August 2012, he has made a total of 91 Premier League appearances for the club; 31 of these have been as a substitute. He has had plenty of time to integrate himself as a constant first team player but he has, truth be told, never really impressed all that much.
Until recently, I don’t think anybody would have been too saddened to see him leave Anfield. The man likened to Xavi, Pirlo and Jesus certainly had a lot of work to do in order to live up to those burdensome tags – and in footballing context Jesus is the least of the trio.
The Welshman has arguably had an upturn in fortune in recent months. As Jordan Henderson and Emre Can were both ruled out with knee and ankle ligament injuries respectively, it opened the door for him to show Jürgen Klopp what he was capable of. In essence, it was a chance to prove he deserved a spot on next season’s roster.
Much like at Liverpool, he may be overshadowed by other attacking midfielders who possess more ‘flare’ notably Gareth Bale with his dazzling free kicks and electric pace. Despite all this, he is still one of the first names on Chris Coleman‘s team sheet.
He certainly grasped the opportunity with both hands. He sat in front of the defence and controlled play with his range of passing and ability to chase the ball for 90 minutes. I personally feel – although not a major fan of his – that his willingness to regain possession and control the tempo of the game went unnoticed.
On the contrary, people suggested that his impressive performances came against much smaller opposition. The likes of Stoke, West Bromwich Albion and Watford were examples people could use against him. The fans were still not convinced.
However, now the European Championship is in full flow, Joe Allen has started both games against Slovakia and England – where here he has looked extremely comfortable. After putting on the Wales jersey, the 26-year-old has become a catalyst for them.
Sitting in the middle of the park, Joe Allen has produced moments of brilliance allowing his team to be on the front foot. Such as the cheeky nutmeg against club rival, Wayne Rooney, he could be considered to be going under the radar once again.
He has had a solid tournament for Wales so far, and it looks set to continue.
When you take a first glance at Joe’s 7 goals for the Reds, it doesn’t make for good reading; but he tends to excel in his defensive duties. He clearly enjoys the task of tracking back and helping to make his defenders’ lives easier.
On the whole, I don’t think it would come as much of a surprise to learn that the Welshman may be on his way out of Melwood at the end of the season. With Klopp having introduced Marco Grujić , and rumours circulating around Piotr Zieliński (whom both play in similar positions), it could spell danger for Joe.
The Welsh Xavi has been a great asset to bring on from the bench throughout the years, but the fact that he is overshadowed massively, could see him leave Anfield for the right fee.
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