Brendan Rodgers probably regrets nicknaming Joe Allen ‘The Welsh Xavi’, in fairness.
The Northern Irishman gave his new signing the moniker in 2012 upon completion of a £15m transfer, but the term got used as a tool to abuse both player and manager in the coming years, with Allen failing to live up the great Spaniard.
That’s no great surprise; Xavi’s an all-time great; but the nickname perhaps gave Reds unrealistic early expectations of the diminutive midfielder.
Allen improved last term under Jurgen Klopp and found himself a place in the hearts of Liverpool fans, who appreciated his effort, guile and attitude having previously suffered abuse.
As a result of his new beard and long-hair combo, fans instead started calling Allen ‘The Welsh Pirlo’, but because of what happened with his first nickname, Allen’s not keen.
“There’s been a few floating around, there’s an obvious one I’m not saying,” he said, reported in the Echo.
“(The Welsh Pirlo is) a dangerous one.
“I had the Welsh Xavi tag for a while and that didn’t really do me too many favours, so I’m trying to steer myself away from the new one too.”
Regardless of whether he likes his nicknames, Allen has undeniably become somewhat of a cult hero amongst football fans. He keeps chickens, doesn’t cover himself in tattoos or shave lines in his hair, stays off the front-pages – and supporters appreciate it.
“I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly,” he continued, when asked about his new-found internet stardom. “Probably more bad and ugly than good.
“There’s been a few things sent my way that’s had me crying with laughter. The recent biblical references (Allen has been likened to Jesus because of his long hair) have been quite funny.
“I have got a sense of humour and that’s the way you have to take it – I’m hoping to have a big influence on everyone.
“I’ve seen a few more beards than normal. It’s the long hair next, even though I can’t say I have many of the lads copying me.”
Allen’s expected to start for Wales at this summer’s Euros, and we wish him all the best in France.