National team manager says this Liverpool man is irreplaceable

Paisley Gateway

Chris Coleman admits he wishes he could have more than one Joe Allen in his Wales side.

Wales manager Chris Coleman has described Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen as "irreplaceable" to his side, but admits that he wishes the former Swansea City man got more regular game time at Anfield, as quoted by the South Wales Evening Post.

Allen was one of the standout performers for Coleman's side as they went down 1-0 to Ukraine in Kiev in the absence of Gareth Bale on Monday in their final warm-up match before the head coach names his squad to take to Euro 2016.

However, the 26-year-old has struggled to hold down a regular first-team spot at Liverpool since his £15 million move from Swansea City, starting just 55 Premier League matches in nearly four years and being a frequent source of criticism from the Anfield faithful.

The midfielder has started to show his true abilities in recent weeks, though, after being handed an increased role in the starting XI under Jurgen Klopp in 2016.

Having played just five times in the league this season before the new year, Allen has featured 12 times in all competitions since 2 January, including starting the club's last match.

Coleman, under whom Allen has become a key player for his country, admits that it is disappointing to have seen the midfielder struggle for first-team action at club level but insists that it's a shame there's only one of him when it comes to international duty.

Coleman said, as quoted by the South Wales Evening Post: "He's a great player and I don't use that term loosely,.

"You almost want a Joe Allen in front of the back four starting play and a Joe Allen just in behind the striker making the last pass, because he's capable of both.

"It's unfortunate that he's not playing enough for Liverpool for his own liking, but that's up to Liverpool. But the job he does for us, he's irreplaceable."

Allen's appearances in the win over Ukraine and the draw with Northern Ireland last week took him up to 25 caps for his country ahead of the final warm-up matches in June.

Meanwhile, he will be hoping to hold down a regular place in Klopp's Liverpool side over the remaining weeks of the season as the Reds look to launch a late challenge to qualify for European competition next season.

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