All 'Welsh Xavi' jokes aside, is Joe Allen one of the Premier League's better midfielders?

Stoke City's Joe Allen celebrates scoring their first goal

The 27-year-old celebrates his birthday today, and the Stoke City man has had an excellent season.

Stoke City's Joe AllenStoke City's Joe Allen

Welsh Xavi. Welsh Pirlo. Welsh *insert name of excellent continental midfielder here*. Stoke City's Joe Allen has taken a lot of jokes in great nature, but as the 27-year-old celebrates his birthday today, he's actually performed staggeringly well this season.

In 27 Premier League appearances this season, Allen has scored six goals and clocked up two assists from midfield, an excellent return for the Wales international, who's gone on to be an integral part of Mark Hughes' set-up at Stoke.

To put into context how well Allen has performed, he's scored more goals from midfield than Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen (both five), Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United's Paul Pogba (both four). 

Obviously midfielders aren't judged on goals alone, but to be ahead of those four players in the goal charts - all of whom are arguably world class - is an incredible achievement for Allen.

Stoke City's Joe Allen scores their first goalStoke City's Joe Allen scores their first goal

Allen also does a resounding job at keeping things ticking over for Stoke with an uncanny ability to find feet - it isn't often you see him wastefully give the ball away.

When the team of the year predictions start flooding in towards the back end of April, all the bigger names will undoubtedly be included - but don't be too shocked to see Allen's name pop up here and there. 

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