Saturday 20 January 2018

Wales boss Chris Coleman could be tempted to use Joe Allen in advanced role

Wales midfielder Joe Allen has shone in a more advanced role for Stoke this season
Wales midfielder Joe Allen has shone in a more advanced role for Stoke this season

Wales manager Chris Coleman will consider using Joe Allen in the advanced role in which he has shone at Stoke.

Allen has been a revelation in the 'number 10' position since his £13million summer switch from Liverpool, his four goals making him the Potters' top scorer this season.

The 26-year-old continued his fine form on Monday night by setting up Wilfried Bony's first two Stoke goals in the 3-1 Premier League victory over former club Swansea.

But Coleman has preferred to play Allen in a deeper role at international level behind the attacking talents of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

However, Coleman - who names his squad on Wednesday for the World Cup qualifier against Serbia - has suggested that Allen could be deployed further forward if circumstances allow.

"Absolutely, I would play him in the number 10 role," Coleman told Press Association Sport.

"Depending who we've got, of course, but he could play number 10 all day long.

"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.

"He's a great player and capable of both."

Allen's first Wales goals have come in his last two appearances, the 4-0 home victory over Moldova and the 2-2 draw with Austria in Vienna.

But his absence with a hamstring injury was sorely felt last month as Wales dropped two crucial World Cup qualifying points in a 1-1 home draw against Georgia.

Ramsey also missed that game and is set to be included for the first time since the summer when Wales reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

The Arsenal midfielder made his first appearance since the opening day of the season as a late substitute in the 4-1 Premier League win at Sunderland on Saturday.

Jonathan Williams, like Ramsey, is also available for the first time in this campaign after overcoming an ankle injury suffered in a pre-season friendly.

Wales are unbeaten after three games in World Cup qualifying, but trail group leaders Serbia by two points.

"We've been looking at the last camp, concentrating on the good and the bad," Coleman said.

"But we know the Serbia game is going to be incredibly tough.

"We're up against a team that are strongly fancied to win it, especially the way they've started.

"But we also know we are a good team and have to do what we did in the last campaign."

Press Association

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