A Welsh international at every level, Joe Allen was born in Carmarthen, brought up in Narberth and began his career at Swansea AFC – he seems a perfect fit for the role of ambassador for the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship.
Allen himself was a precocious talent, making his first-team debut at the age of 16. By the following season, 2007/08, he was a regular starter under Roberto Martínez in England's third-tier. Swansea were promoted and after a brief spell in north Wales on loan at Wrexham FC he returned south to re-establish himself with the Swans. By May 2009 he was a senior international, taking his bow at 19 in a 1-0 friendly victory over Estonia.
Swansea, with Brendan Rodgers now at the helm, won Premier League promotion in 2011 and the diminutive Allen's brand of technically excellent midfield play reached a wider audience. He starred as the side exceeded expectations to finish 11th, earning a place in Great Britain's Olympic football team and a move to Liverpool FC, following Rodgers. Allen made 37 appearances in his first season at Anfield, despite missing the last three months with a shoulder injury.
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