The beard, the haircut, a place in the last 16 of Euro 2016. Right now, it seems that Joe Allen has got it all.
The midfielder has been in spelling-binding form for Wales at the European Championships as he has played a central role in their march to the top of Group B and, in doing so, has amassed more assists than Paul Pogba and Luka Modric combined (both of whom, admittedly, have zero assists).
Such barnstorming performances has cast minds back to an interview Ashley Williams did with Wales Online before the tournament even began, in which Williams revealed that ‘We have a WhatsApp messaging group and at least once a week we have a Joe Allen Appreciation Day.’
When better to mark such an august occasion than the day after you beat England to first place in your group? Twitter agreed that the timing was appropriate, and celebrated the ‘Welsh Xavi’ in style.
— Liverpool FC (Premier League Champions 🏆) (@LFC) June 21, 2016
— LFCTV (@LFCTV) June 21, 2016
— Steve Harrison* (@AintreeIron) June 21, 2016
The world laughed when I called him 'The Welsh Xavi'
Now he has a day dedicated to him
I'm one proud man. #JoeAllenAppreciationDay
— Deluded Brendan (@DeludedBrendan) June 21, 2016
— CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND 🏆 (@LFCTransferNRS) June 21, 2016
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 21, 2016
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) June 21, 2016
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 21, 2016
— #OTBAM (@OffTheBallAM) June 21, 2016
— Dr Gareth Nye (@ganye91) June 21, 2016
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) June 21, 2016
Topping the group means Joe Allen and Wales will face a third-place team in the next round and should they win that, they could face Belgium in the quarter-finals.
While they certainly proved too much for Ireland, no one would argue that Marc Wilmots’ charges are world beaters, so it’s certainly a draw that gives Wales every chance of advancing to the semi-finals of the competition.
Anything can happen should they advance to the last four and with some luck, we may have an even grander Joe Allen Appreciation Day to celebrate following the final on July 10th.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena
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