Joe Allen’s secondary school headteacher has described the moment he first encountered our midfielder’s ability, the Echo reports.
The 26-year-old attended Mondial Pupilles as a youngster, and Mike Davis takes up the story from here, with the Welsh nation currently going ballistic for our diminutive star due to his performances during this summer’s Euros.
He came up to our secondary school from primary for what we call ‘a transition day’ – when future pupils come for a taster session.
I was deputy head at the time and was inside the school when a group of sixth formers came rushing in saying ‘sir you’ve got to come down to the tennis courts and see this – there’s a little boy who is running rings around everyone’.
When I got there I saw this diminutive boy doing all these kinds of tricks. I knew then he was something special.
My personal highlight was his performances at the Mondial Pupilles tournaments in 2002 and 2003 though.
We played against some incredibly talented youngsters from across the globe and Joe stood head and shoulders above them all.
He must have made an impression because he now features in their hall of fame – which also includes Thierry Henry and Petr Cech, who also played at the tournament as youngsters in the past.
Allen’s always been talented. We signed him for £15m in 2012 from Swansea, and his failure to maximise his potential is as much the fault of the club and fan expectation as his own.
Instilled with confidence by Jurgen Klopp last season, Allen found a new lease of life, and he’s really stepped up his level with Wales this summer – and most Liverpool supporters would now be loathe to see him leave.
He only has one year left on his contract, so if we are planning on selling, we’ll need to do it during this window if we’re to claw back the money spent on him four summers ago.
There’s a reported £14m price-tag on his head (via Daily Mail), but in all honesty – we’d still be disappointed if Allen were to leave for that sum. He’s approaching his prime and if he can do it to the standard he has been at international level