There's not much meaning to be found in the international break, especially for sides that have seen their hopes at qualifying for a major tournament dashed. That means a healthy dose of those taking part through the middle part of next week, as there's motions to be gone through and glamour fees to be had--especially for Luxembourg and Montenegro on Sunday $$$$--as part of the national team song and dance.
But as cynical as we'd like to be, the break also offers something positive at times, and in the case of Joe Allen, it offered the chance at some long overdue first-team football, even if it came in the form of a sparsely attended friendly against Finland in Cardiff.
Offered more than half an hour of playing time for the first time in weeks, Allen flourished, operating deep in the Welsh midfield and balancing timely tackling with smart distribution to both retain possession and push Wales forward. Gareth Bale did and will get all the headlines, but it was Allen at the heart of most things Chris Coleman's side did well, and his MOTM honors were well deserved.
It's unfortunate that Wales won't be taking part in any further action over the break, as Joe Allen could probably use all the minutes on offer after such a lengthy layoff. Based on his performance Saturday night, however, he looks to be ready to have an impact on a more consistent basis, and hopefully we see more of him--and the type of performance he produced against Finland--sometime soon.
Video by LFCTikiTaka