Steven Gerrard’s need for shoulder surgery this summer, could ironically benefit Joe Allen who has been suffering with a similar problem.
Liverpool have confirmed that Steven Gerrard will miss England’s summer friendly matches against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil in order to have surgery on a shoulder injury.
Gerrard will undergo the operation after the final game of the season at the end of May, which presents Joe Allen with a rather ironic and surprising way to revitalise his own career at the club.
The difference between Allen’s shoulder injury and Gerrard’s is that Allen has missed a significant chunk of the current season to have his problem dealt with, which gives him a unique opportunity heading into the summer.
This may sound a little bit odd considering Liverpool won’t have any competitive games to play until August but it presents the midfielder with a small chance to take advantage of Gerrard’s absence around the club.
He’ll never replace Gerrard, and that’s not what I’m suggesting for a second, but he has a chance to really work hard on his fitness to make a significant impact over the pre-season period.
Brendan Rodgers has proven to be a very honest manager since he joined the club and he will give Allen the same chance to get back into the side, possibly initially taking Gerrard’s position, as he gave to both Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing.
Gerrard is that important to Liverpool that they will take no risks with him or his fitness once he’s had the shoulder op, which means he could find himself behind several other players when it comes to the pre-season fitness regime.
That is where Allen can get his head down, work hard, show that he’s been working hard at home all summer, and make himself indispensible and a solid option in the middle of the side alongside Gerrard and Lucas.
Allen is on a very long contract at Liverpool and only joined the club last summer so he’s unlikely to be axed in the summer window to create extra transfer funds, meaning the only way he can move is forward.
He also has the benefit of extra determination, which has been created through his injury lay-off this season, which is not something Gerrard either needs or will benefit from.
He has the chance to basically become a common presence at the club over the summer, while he grows stronger through his recovery, which aids him in terms of the reputation he’s developing for himself at the club.
He has to put himself in the position where he becomes the first choice central midfielder when Gerrard isn’t available because the 32-year-old captain is not going to play ever game next year.
There is no doubt that Gerrard’s temporary absence from anything to do with Liverpool will allow him to grab some attention at the club and do just that.
How do you think Allen will play next season?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald