Stoke City manager Nathan Jones has offered his support and backing to midfielder Joe Allen, who is set to return to the Potters this week, following his international exploits with Wales in back to back Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Jones has seen Allen as one of his most dependable players so far this, with the 29-year-old making nine appearances for the Potters in the Championship this season, with the two games he has missed coming after he was suspended for picking up a red card in Stoke’s 2-1 defeat at home to Bristol City in September.
Allen, though, has been one of the senior Stoke players who has been subject to criticism from the Potters’ supporters, with the midfielder at times struggling to help his side recover from losing the ball in midfield, and allowing opposing teams to be able to break Jones’ side down too easily from the middle of the pitch.
However, in Stoke’s first win of the season in the Championship at Swansea City just before the international break, Allen produced a strong performance in the heart of midfield, helping the Potters keep a more solid shape, as well as offering composure in possession.
Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, Jones offered his backing to Allen and praised the 29-year-old for his performance in the win at Swansea, saying “Joe has given me everything, but he’s been dragged down a little bit and then I couldn’t hammer him for his red card (in the 12th minute against Bristol City on September 14) because it was his desire to do well for him, for me, for everything.
“He was outstanding at Swansea, but everyone was. We defended superbly as a back four, the diamond was wonderful and caused them problems.
“We had a real energy about us and a threat up top to make us as dominant as anyone who has gone to Swansea.”
Jones’ faith in Allen at times throughout the first few months of the season has been questioned by some of the club’s supporters, with the 29-year-old putting in some poor performances alongside most of his team-mates in some of the Potters’ frustrating defeats and draws in the opening eleven games.
However, against Swansea Allen was back to his best to help the Potters record a much-needed win, to help them re-gain some ground on some of the teams around them down at the bottom of the division – and the Wales international demonstrated his importance to the midfield by putting in an excellent performance, and helping his side maintain a much more solid shape.
Allen, though, will need to ensure that he continues to display that sort of form on a consistent basis from now on, if he is going to be able to help his side pick up similar results and start to move away from the relegation places.