Euro 2020: Joe Allen backs ‘fearless’ Wales youngsters to succeed


Joe Allen
Joe Allen has won 59 caps for Wales, scoring two goals
Venue: Baku Olympic Stadium Date: Saturday, 12 June Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One and S4C, live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app, plus live text and score updates

Joe Allen believes a “fearless” generation of new players can fire Wales to success at Euro 2020.

Allen, 31, is one of eight players in the 26-man squad who helped Wales reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

Manchester United winger Daniel James and Tottenham centre-back Joe Rodon are among the young additions hoping to inspire Wales this summer.

“They want to make their mark and show what they can do and showcase their talent,” Allen told BBC Sport Wales.

“That is one of the great strengths they have. They are fearless.

“They are hungry and ambitious to do well and they are really, really keen to show that, and I am confident they are going to do just that as well.”

Allen was named in the official team of the tournament at Euro 2016 after playing an integral role in Wales’ historic run to the semi-finals.

In qualifying for what was their first appearance at a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, Wales’ success was built on strong defensive foundations.

It has been a similar story in recent campaigns such as the last Nations League in which Wales conceded only one goal in six games.

However, with players such as James, David Brooks and Harry Wilson emerging since Euro 2016 to complement the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Allen believes the current crop could pose more of an attacking threat than their predecessors five years ago.

“I think technically throughout the whole squad I think there is a bit more flair, a bit more creativity and a few more attacking dimensions,” the Stoke City midfielder said.

“I think we have players with pace, we have players who can find a pass and can create things out of nothing.

“We have different traits this time around and I think everyone is looking forward to showing what we can do in maybe a different way.”

Wales face Switzerland in Baku on Saturday in their opening game of Euro 2020, a tournament Allen feared he would miss when he ruptured an Achilles tendon last year.

The former Liverpool and Swansea City player was given a reprieve when the tournament was postponed for 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He returned for Wales in March, only to suffer a hamstring injury seven minutes into his first game back against Belgium.

But Allen has regained his fitness once more and, having featured in friendly matches against France and Albania this month, he is ready to take on Switzerland.

“I was always confident I would have enough time to get things right,” he said.

“It’s not ideal preparation but thankfully I have had great help both here with the Welsh staff and at Stoke City. I am in a good placed physically and ready to go.”

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