Allen: I know I am struggling to be Kop idol
WALES v AUSTRIA (tonight, KO 7.45)
JOE Allen is hoping it’s a case of new year and a new start for both club and country.
The £15 million capture from Swansea City admits for the first time his frustration at his own form for club side Liverpool and vows things can only get better both domestically and for Wales.
First on the agenda is the chance to return to the Liberty Stadium tonight and Allen is relishing the opportunity to get some game time having lost his place at Anfield.
“Everyone knows my form hasn’t been great. That goes without saying. It’s been disappointing not to have been involved in every game and play every game,” he told the Argus.
“But it’s up to me now to work hard and get myself back in the team and improve my level of performance.
“It happens to everyone in football. We all have highs and lows. But I’m excited and looking forward to turning that around at some stage in the near future.
“I started well. In terms of settling in, that hasn’t been a problem. The club is fantastic from that point of view.
“I’m surrounded by great players, but settling in wasn’t a problem. It doesn’t have anything to do with it; there’s no magic formula or reason why I haven’t been playing well. I’m sure that will change.
“But I’d like to think the new year is a fresh start for Wales and myself. The results over the last few games haven’t been as good as we hoped for. We’re looking to improve.”
Allen believes there are parallels between Wales and his club side, one of the youngest in the Premier League and arguably currently producing performances that are meriting better results.
“You try and separate club and international,” he said, “but I’m delighted to be back with the squad here, looking forward to training and hopefully be involved.
“I will try to put in a good performance if I do play.
“Wales need everyone playing well. There is a responsibility on my shoulders that if I do play to play well. I’ll do everything I can to do that.
“I have to agree that there are parallels to Liverpool in the Wales camp. You try not to say it too much because it’s almost become the story of the season.
“We’ve deserved more than we’ve got and the game at Manchester City (on Sunday) was probably a prime example of that.
“And it’s similar here in many ways. Both are positive and looking to the future and the biggest thing is that everyone has that faith and belief that things will turn around for the better.”
Allen is relishing the return to the squad of mercurial winger Craig Bellamy.
“It’s a massive boost for us (to have Craig back). He’s a quality player and he brings so much to this team,” he said.
“It’s always an added bonus when he is fit and available for selection.
“We want him to play on beyond Wednesday. As long as he is willing and able to play then the whole nation wants and needs him to play. It’s great he can be part of this camp and long may that continue.
“I’ve seen bits and pieces of his games this season and he’s been as impressive as ever.
“Cardiff have been on television and you can see what he brings to their team.
“He’s had a fantastic season and they are looking good for a promotion push.”