Joe Allen: Wales and Stoke midfielder worthy of top level, says Ryan Giggs
As Joe Allen prepares to win his 50th cap for Wales, his manager Ryan Giggs says the midfielder is worthy of a return to the Premier League.
Allen, 29, has been playing his club football in the Championship since Stoke's top-flight relegation in 2018.
Before joining the Potters in 2016, he was named in the Euro 2016 team of the tournament and played for Liverpool in a Europa League final.
"Of course Joe could play at a higher level," said Giggs.
"He has played in the Premier League. Since I've taken over, he's one of the most reliable players who you just know what you're going to get, both in training and in games.
"He'll take the ball anywhere. That's something he did at Swansea in his early days. He wants the ball, he wants to play football the right way."
Having progressed through the youth ranks at Swansea, Allen earned a £15m move to Liverpool in 2012.
The Reds' manager at the time was Brendan Rodgers, who had worked with Allen at the Swans and compared the Pembrokeshire-born playmaker to Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi.
High expectations at Anfield were something of a burden for Allen, but he still amassed 91 Premier League appearances for Liverpool and represented them in the Champions League.
Current boss Jurgen Klopp sanctioned his £13m move to Stoke in 2016 but, on the international stage, Allen has become a pivotal player for Wales since making his senior debut in 2009.
A tenacious central midfielder with an eye for a pass, he played a major part in Wales' historic run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
Allen remains a highly influential figure for his country, who visit Croatia for a Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday before travelling to Hungary for another three days later.
"He's an intelligent player and a great lad, who you know you can rely on," said Giggs.
"He's great to have around the place.
"He knows his ability, he's not over confident, he's not cocky - he just believes in what kind of a player he is."