Coleman: Allen born to play at the highest level

The former Fulham coach was full of praise for the 22-year-old Reds midfielder after he capped off an extraordinary 12 months by scooping a top national award

Wales boss Chris Coleman has claimed Joe Allen was born to play at the highest level after the Liverpool midfielder was named Welsh Player of the Year on Monday.

Allen has enjoyed a meteoric rise during the past 12 months, establishing himself in the Premier League with Swansea before winning a maiden international start against Switzerland in October 2011.

His performances for club and country earned him an €18.5 million move to Anfield during the summer and his achievements have now been recognised by the Football Association of Wales.

8.50 Joe Allen is 8.50 with bet365 to score his first goal for Wales against Scotland

And Coleman was quick to express his admiration for the 22-year-old, who was also named club player of the year, insisting it was clear from a young age that he was destined to make his mark at the top.

“I can remember Joe when he first came through at Swansea when he had only just turned 16 – you could see even then he was going to be a real player,” said Coleman.

“You could see the talent he had and it’s brilliant for everyone that he’s showing just how much he has.

“What helps is that Joe is such a great character, very humble, lot of humility and never someone who gets carried away. He’s doing terrific, a super little player who is important to us.

“Of course, the last 12 months have been incredible and he’s made huge strides – but he was born for it. He was born to play for a club like Liverpool and excel, and he deserves all the success he’s been getting.”