HomeSportsWales midfielder Joe Allen retires from international football

Wales midfielder Joe Allen retires from international football

Wales midfielder Joe Allen retires from international football

Wales midfielder Joe Allen has retired from international football at the age of 32.

Allen won 74 caps, scoring twice, and will go down as one of the nation’s all-time great midfield players.

The Swansea City player helped Wales qualify for three major tournaments, with the World Cup in Qatar proving to be his international farewell.

Allen’s retirement means Wales have lost another star player after Gareth Bale hung up his boots last month.

“Playing for Wales has been a great passion and love in my life,” Allen said in a statement released by the Football Association of Wales.

“I have been extremely fortunate. I’ve shared this journey with incredible people – my family, team-mates, staff and fans have made it special and I’m hugely grateful to you all.

“Our nation’s support is inspiring and it has given me immense pride to wear the shirt… so many unforgettable experiences.

“Unfortunately, time and injuries take their toll and so it’s time for me to make way for our next generation. The future of Welsh football is bright.”

While Allen was not as influential as the talismanic Bale, he has been a central figure for Wales during the most successful period in the history of the men’s national team.

First capped in 2009, he helped end his nation’s 58-year wait for a major championship appearance as they qualified for Euro 2016, and was then named in the team of the tournament as Chris Coleman’s side produced an extraordinary run to the semi-finals.

And the former Liverpool and Stoke City player also played a key role as Wales qualified for Euro 2020, where they made it to the second round.

He then helped Wales reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958, only for his involvement in the tournament to be in doubt throughout the build-up because of a hamstring injury.

Wales manager Robert Page and his club boss, Russell Martin, both praised Allen for the desire and commitment he showed to get himself fit in time for the competition, where he was unavailable for the opening draw against the United States but returned after more than two months out as a substitute in the defeat by Iran.

He then started Wales’ final group game against England, where a 3-0 defeat confirmed their first-round exit.

Head coach Martin admitted Swansea’s treatment of Allen’s injury “wasn’t good enough”, while Page suggested the situation “could have been avoided”.

Allen made 53 appearances in the 2021-22 season, his last as a Stoke player, having fought his way back after rupturing his Achilles in March 2020.

But the Swansea academy product has been troubled by fitness issues since rejoining the Welsh club last summer.

He began this season with an injury picked up on Wales duty before suffering the pre-World Cup hamstring problem, while he missed Swansea’s defeat to Birmingham City last weekend with what Martin called a “knock”.

“Everyone at Swansea City congratulates Joe on a fantastic international career,” the Championship club said. “We know we speak for all Welsh football followers when we say, ‘diolch Joe’.”

Wales return to action after the World Cup when they begin Euro 2024 qualifying with a trip to Croatia on 25 March, before a second Group D game against Latvia three days later.

Allen had told BBC Sport Wales that he was planning to continue playing for Wales.

“There is still a place for the experienced, older lads,” he said in an interview last month.

Source: BBC

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