Saturday, August 11, 2012

Liverpool FC : Joe Allen in profile

Liverpool today completed the signing of Swansea's Joe Allen. Here's our new boy's story so far...
Joe Allen was born in Carmarthen, Wales on March 14, 1990 and was raised in the Pembrokeshire town of Fishguard.
As a nine-year-old, Swansea City spotted his talents and invited him to join their youth ranks at the Liberty Stadium, where he would remain for 13 years before becoming Brendan Rodgers' second signing as Liverpool manager in August 2012.
A gifted player with a low centre of gravity and quick feet, Allen learnt to play a variety of midfield positions during his developing years.
His keen eye for a pass and composure on the ball was nurtured by Rodgers during the time the pair spent together at Swansea and, as a result, the 22-year-old possesses a consummate grasp of Rodgers' possession football philosophy.
He got his first taste of senior football as a substitute in Swansea's final game of the 2006-07 campaign against Blackpool - a game that ended 6-3 to the Tangerines.
After a summer break, a 17-year-old Allen returned rejuvenated and ready to make his first start for the club. And the youngster shone as he delivered a fine performance against Walsall in the Carling Cup, fashioning Swansea's first goal by seeking out Paul Anderson with a delicate left-footed lob.
Former captain and Swansea manager Roberto Martinez rewarded him with his first professional contract in August 2007 and the season ended in glory for the Welsh U21 international, albeit at youth level, as one of the highlights of his bourgeoning career came at Ninian Park in April 2008.
Arch rivals Cardiff City were beaten in their own backyard as Swansea youth edged them to the FAW Welsh Youth Cup.
Swansea secured qualification to the Championship for the start of the 2008-09 season; however, on October 7, 2008, it was announced that Allen would be moving to Blue Square Premier outfit Wrexham on a one-month loan deal.
A 25-yard beauty on his debut proved the perfect way to announce himself to the Dragons faithful but injury to his ankle ligaments meant Allen played just twice for the club during his stay, as he saw out the remainder of his loan spell from the stands.
Back at Swansea and fully rehabilitated, Allen's chance to impress arrived in December 2008, when regular midfielder Ferrie Bodde sustained an injury during a home match against Barnsley which would rule him out for the remainder of the season.
With the Swans trailing 2-0 and playing out of sorts, manager Martinez looked to Allen for a moment of inspiration that could swing the match in their favour.
By then, the budding youngster Allen was in the habit of delivering when it mattered and he came up trumps once more, inspiring a Swansea fightback that took the game 2-2 and, having played just 25 minutes, he scooped man of the match for his decisive performance.
In April 2009, ninth-placed Swansea were still pushing for a Championship play-off place and a tie against Cardiff, who were sixth in the table, was about to become a landmark occasion for the 19-year-old Allen.
Martinez introduced him as a sub with the scores level at Ninian Park and in the 88th minute of what had been billed as a 'titanic' clash, the youngster ghosted in and arrowed home a stunning edge-of-the-box strike to score his first goal for the club he had joined as a child a decade previously.
With the ball nestled in the back of the Cardiff net, Allen wheeled away in delight, certain he had clinched an unforgettable victory with his first professional strike; however, the Bluebirds' Ross McCormack hit the Swans with a sucker-punch as his goal levelled the game in its dying embers.
Swansea missed out on the play-offs by six points in May 2009 but Allen's contribution to their valiant promotion push did not go unnoticed and he was bestowed with the honour of the Swans' 'Young Player of the Year'.
The summer of 2009 saw a managerial shift at the Liberty as in came Paulo Sousa and out went Martinez. But for Allen, the ensuing 2009-10 campaign proved a demoralising one, as a string of injuries kept him sidelined for much of the season.
In his absence, the Swans built on their promotion efforts of the previous season but were to suffer the heartbreak of missing out on the play-offs by a single point.
The following year they would ensure there were no such shortcomings in their quest to return to the Premier League and on July 16, 2010 they made a managerial appointment that would finally bring them the success they craved.
It was an appointment that would develop Allen into one of the most admired and sought-after young players in the English game.
Brendan Rodgers had high hopes for Allen, earmarking him as a player who had the potential to deliver a very specific, crucial role in a system that would help propel Swansea back to the heights of the Premier League.
Allen made 43 appearances in the 2010-11 Championship season. Sitting in the middle of the park, the Welshman linked the play and moved the ball in the style Rodgers expected.
Swansea cut through opposition and passed them into submission with Allen at the heart of every methodical, incisive move.
After finishing third, the Swans beat Nottingham Forrest 3-1 in the Championship play-off semi-finals to set up a meeting with Rodgers' former club Reading at Wembley on May 30, 2011.
A Scott Sinclair hat-trick on the day helped them to a dramatic 4-2 win and Allen was on his way to the Premier League.
Upon their arrival in the Premier League, Swansea's style of play was a widespread revelation to fresh onlookers.
A fluid, entertaining brand of aggressive, possession football with the emphasis on composure on the ball and support for teammates off it, captivated Premier League audiences from the first game of the season to the last and Allen shone throughout.
A season which saw him net a career record of four goals was capped by a 'Young Player of the Year Award' and an 11th place finish.
In June 2012 Rodgers was appointed Liverpool manager and just two months later he made Allen his second signing.

Author: @philreade

From Liverpool Fc.Com 


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