Monday, August 13, 2012

Joe Allen will breathe fire into Liverpool midfield

All you need to know about Liverpool's Welsh dragon Joe Allen
By Emdad Rahman

Original article - After watching Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday night, midfield maestro Joe Allen fulfilled Brendan Rodgers' pledge to complete a big money signing within 24 hours.

The exciting new recruit becomes the 10th piece of business conducted between the two clubs. In a turn of events, Allen becomes the first Swansea player to join Liverpool. The previous nine had headed to the Swans, with Great Dane Jan Molby being the last, leaving on a free transfer to the Vetch Field in 1996.

Despite the obvious attraction of playing under themanager who had nurtured him on the big stage it was a nudge from a fellow Welsh dragon that convinced Allen that his future was served at Anfield.

One of Craig Bellamy’s final acts before calling time on his second stint at Anfield was to spend time “hounding” Allen to join Liverpool. Reds favourite Bellamy, who is taking a pay cut to make an emotional return to Cardiff City, has been impressed with Brendan Rodgers' vision and the capture of Allen, but returned to Wales for family reasons.

Thanks to the nudge from Team GB’s player of the Olympic football tournament, the 22-year-old prodigy who grew up on the coast in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, and who is described by Rodgers as a “frightening talent” will be bossing the play at Anfield next season.

Allen’s confidence and belief in his old boss was another major factor that made it easy to follow Fabio Borini to Anfield. During his first interview with, Allen said: "I'm looking forward to being part of some great years ahead for Liverpool Football Club.

"Look at the players and staff, and obviously the supporters, and everything is there for us to be successful.

"I have a lot of faith that Brendan Rodgers can bring success, that's one of the reasons I'm here. I wanted to be part of this project, his project, and I've really got a good feeling - as I'm sure all the players here have - that this football club is going to go from strength to strength in the next couple of seasons.
"Brendan is so passionate about his football. He works day in, day out to improve the team and everyone individually. Everyone wants to work alongside someone who has that way about them.

"One of his best things is his man management, it's second to none. He commands the respect of everyone and it's no different for me."
Joe Allen facts

- Carmarthen born Joe Allen is the 29th Welshman to sign for Liverpool.
- Earmarked as a future star, Allen joined Swansea at the age of 13.
- Kenny Jackett gave 16-year-old Allen his debut in the FAW Premier Cup against Port Talbot Town.
- Roberto Martinez was the first manager to award him a professional contract.
- Creating a chance every 63 minutes and with 91 percent for completed passes, Allen’s Premier League statistics from last season were superior to World Cup and double European champion Andres Iniesta.
- Allen chose the South Wales derby to score his first goal for Swansea, netting against Cardiff after coming on as a sub in April 2009.
- Despite being diminutive he can tackle too. 110 tackles last season saw the Welshman come third in the Premier League.
- An error in the official 2012 Team GB Olympic programme described Allen as English.
- He may be a giant on the pitch but is the same height as Jay Spearing. Towering above Aaron Lennon, Nathan Dyer and Shaun Wright-Phillips makes Allen the joint fourth smallest player in the Premier League.
- Born in the Welsh town of Carmarthen, Allen is amongst a very rare 10 percent of Welsh citizens who speak the native language, known as Cymraeg.

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