Allen Takes Pride in Positional Flexibility

You can't tell a hero by his size, he's just a Teeny Little Super Guy. - Mike Hewitt

Joe Allen isn't always a knocked on starter for Liverpool, which is why he's happy that his ability to play multiple roles gives his manager different tactical options when needed.

In an attempt to find a midfield that can midfield, Brendan Rodgers has tried various permutations of players in the middle of the park. For the recently returned from injury Joe Allen, his own positional flexibility allows him to happily play whatever role his manager asks of him.

"I take pride in the fact that I can play in a couple of different positions and I provide different options in the team," Allen said. "People ask me about my preferred role but it's difficult to pick a perfect position for myself. I just go out in training every day trying to improve all aspects of my game and leave that decision to the coaching staff."

Liverpool's midfield has been hit or miss all season, with the cries of fans desperate for a defensive midfielder falling on deaf ears. Several players have been in and out of Rodgers' midfield trio, and the choice to move Steven Gerrard into a defensive position has complicated matters. But in the Welshman's opinion, his captain is doing a fine job alongside his fellow midfielders.

"From the point of view of Stevie," Allen continued, "there was never any doubt that he would be able to go into that position and be just as effective and as key a player for us as in any other position he may fill.

"It's great to see him playing as well as he has been. We talk about Stevie but we also have players such as Coutinho, who we've seen play as a wide player but is now operating more centrally. Henderson's been able to play wide and centrally as well. "

There is always the underlying question of just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should do something. That Rodgers' players can play here, there, or anywhere in a pinch is comforting when an injury-ridden squad is thin to the point of nearly breaking — as Liverpool's has been at times this season — but ideally it's a position the team doesn't want to find itself in too often.

Still, for the individual player this kind of flexibility can come in handy when trying to squeeze into the starting line-up, no matter where the opportunity might be in the squad formation. With the summer transfer window less than four months away, it's an opportunity for Allen to hone his skills in a variety of contexts so that when reinforcements begin to arrive, his options remain open.

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