With Arsenal man Aaron Ramsey, Champions League winner Gareth Bale and Swansea defender Ashley Williams all set to miss Wales friendly with the Netherlands later on today, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen is set to be handed the captain’s armband by boss Chris Coleman.
The 24-year old, who followed Brendan Rodgers to Merseyside from former club Swansea City two seasons ago, will lead his country in what’s sure to be a tough encounter with a World Cup bound Oranje side. Netherlands boss, and soon to be Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal will be looking for improvement from his team after a draw with Ecuador and a narrow victory over Ghana left his team looking a little less than the perennial favourites the Dutch are usually seen as — not that anyone in the Wales camp will be losing any sleep over their troubles.
With no football on the docket until Euro 2016 qualifiers kick off in September, Coleman will be looking to send his team — who will be ravaged by high profile absences — off on a winning note and he believes that Allen can lead them to it. “It’s a big chance for Joe, especially with Rambo missing,” said the Welshman ahead of the meeting with van Gaal’s side. “But I’ve no doubts Joe can do that because I think we’ve seen him really grow this season. You only have to look at his performances for Liverpool, especially after Christmas when they turned it on.”
Allen, who will be playing Champions League football for the Reds next season, has been an important part of Rodgers plans on Merseyside and the former Fulham boss can see why. “We knew how good he was before he went there: he is so brave, he will take the ball and take the pass on in any situation and in that system with Liverpool he benefits from it” continued Coleman. “Swansea is a great club and I’m a Swansea boy, but playing for Liverpool is different, it just is.”