The Pride & Passion Behind Joe Allen’s Cymru Story

Joe Allen has called time on his international career having made 74 Cymru appearances since his senior debut as a teenager back in May 2009.

During the course of his 14-year international career, Allen has played in a key role in Cymru qualifying for two EURO finals and the World Cup, and his performances on the biggest stages will cement his legacy as a firm fan favourite with the Red Wall. One of the most-influential players in modern Cymru history, the footballing intelligence that complimented his undoubted ability on the ball has been a catalyst to what he achieved while proudly wearing the colours of his country.

Allen will turn 33 next month and will continue with his club career. Now back where it all began for him at Swansea City, his international retirement is the result of recent injuries which have curtailed his involvement for club and country. His latest setback almost ended his dream of appearing for Cymru at the World Cup Finals in Qatar, but his importance to the national team meant that manager Rob Page gave him every opportunity to prove his fitness and with it complete his one outstanding international ambition even though he failed to recover in time for the opening game.

When Allen made his senior debut under John Toshack as a substitute in a friendly against Estonia in 2009, there was little indication of what he would achieve on the international stage. Sitting 78th in the FIFA World Rankings at the time, Cymru would fall to an all-time low of 117th two years later, but the appointment of the late Gary Speed inspired a revival in the fortunes of the side before Chris Coleman took the project forward. Allen would then play his best football for Cymru under Coleman as the side ended a 58-year wait to qualify for the finals of a major tournament to reach the finals of EURO 2016.

To reflect upon Allen’s contribution to Cymru inevitably means revisiting that memorable summer as Coleman’s side upset the natural order to reach the semi-finals. Named man of the match in the opening 2-1 victory over Slovakia, Allen humbly deflected the personal recognition and focused on the performance of his team. He then continued to inspire the side in each of the six games to earn himself a place alongside Aaron Ramsey in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. In an era of the game defined by tenacious and creative midfield influencers, Allen displayed all the qualities and attributes needed on the biggest stage to establish his reputation as a world-class performer in his position.

During his international career Allen captained his country against the Netherlands in 2014, while his only two goals were just a month apart and arrived on the back of his performances at EURO 2016. His first would come in the 4-0 win over Moldova in September that year, and he repeated the feat a few weeks later in a similar fashion with another fine strike from the edge of the area against Austria in Vienna. Sadly, his 74th and final international appearance came against England in Qatar as the 3-0 defeat confirmed Cymru’s exit from the World Cup at the group stage.

But Allen will not be remembered for how it ended. Allen will instead be remembered as one of the most talented and versatile midfielders to represent Cymru, and his bond with the Red Wall will ensure that his name will continue to be sung from the stands when EURO 2024 qualifying begins next month. His time with the national team will be defined by the success he achieved in qualifying for the finals of three major tournaments and the pivotal role he played in making those dreams a reality. In his short but emotional statement, Allen handed his midfield baton over to the next generation, and they will be a generation inspired by what he delivered both on and off the field.

Diolch Joe.


  • 74 caps
  • 2 goals
  • 3 major tournaments


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