The Liverpool cast-off is making a name for himself at Stoke
Look at him—gliding across the green grass with effortless ease, never breaking his stride.
An ugly pass comes bobbling toward him at pace, he looks at it in disgust but Joe does not fret; Joe is fearless and exudes calm in the most calamitous situations.
Where less distinguished players might drop a deuce in their shorts, Joe drops a shoulder.
And so, it should come as no surprise that Mr. Joseph Allen — the renaissance man, Stoke City’s very own Galactico, has been directly involved in more Premier League goals so far this season than both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba combined.
This, after all, is the man Brendan Rodgers christened: “The Welsh Xavi”— and who could ever accuse Rodgers of hyperbole?
Those who saw Stoke take on Allen’s boyhood club, Swansea City, may well have been rubbing their eyes wondering just for a moment whether the Barca legend was now actually playing for the Potters.
During the end of his time at Liverpool, Allen was the laughing stock. He was seen as an overvalued remnant of Rodgers’ reign. He’d become Jurgen Klopp’s plaything. Every now and again the manager would give Wee Joe a patronizing slap on the back with a wild grin that said it all: How is this guy even a footballer?
In France, liberated, Joe forgot all about his misery on Merseyside, and on the 20th of June, during Wales’ pivotal third and final group match against Russia, the unassuming little man took center stage. After the cutest of touches, the long-locked midfielder threaded an exquisite pass through to Aaron Ramsey to set Wales on their way to their most resounding victory. The pass spoke with authority, and the midfielder well and truly introduced himself to the world: My name is Joe.
He now looks revitalized at the Bet365 Stadium under the guidance of fellow Welshman Mark Hughes. It’s a thing of beauty. A quarter of the way through the season, the midfielder is thriving in his more offensive role for Stoke City with four goals already to his name. And that name, ladies and gentleman, is Joe. Not Xavi.