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Bale: Wee Joe is "Vitally Important" to Wales

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Wee Joe Allen doesn't get much love, but Real Madrid star and Welsh teammate Gareth Bale is happy to sing his praises.

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Coming into this summer, it's very difficult to predict Joe Allen's professional future. Manager Jürgen Klopp has always been quick to praise the diminutive Welsh midfielder, but has equally relegated Allen to squad duty for much of the season.

Even when Allen shined in the center of the park, he just couldn't get a look in for Liverpool's biggest games of the season. This, in turn, has led to an understandable rumbling of transfer rumors throughout the summer.

Regardless of Klopp's true feelings about the player and his place in the squad, Allen's international teammate and global superstar Gareth Bale is clearly very positive on the 26-year-old midfielder.

"I can't really speak highly enough of him," Bale said in an interview before the Round of 16 clash with Northern Ireland. "I think he does the dirty work that maybe goes unnoticed. But for us, we know how vitally important he is and how amazing he's played.

"In the squad we appreciate him very much. Maybe he doesn't get the headlines outside, but in the squad he gets them. He works his socks off every game and I'm sure he'll go on to do incredible things in his career."

We know Allen is a footballer of immense quality, but whether Klopp thinks he can fit his system long-term is an open question. Given his status as a B-squad starter and an A-squad substitute last season (one which saw the preferred choices of Emre Can and Jordan Henderson sustain repeated injuries), it's difficult to see Allen sticking around, especially if Liverpool get a reasonable price for him.

Still, thanks for the kind words about our Wee Joe, Gareth, especially if it improves his transfer value.