Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen is in line to start Wales' European Championship opener against Slovakia in Bordeaux on Saturday 11 June after recovering from a knee injury. The 26-year-old missed the warm-up defeat to Sweden but is the most likely of the Chris Coleman's injured players to make a full recovery in time for the start of the country's first major tournament campaign in 58 years.
Allen played a key role for Coleman's team during their successful qualifying campaign, featuring five times in midfield, He was expected to play a similarly influential part in Wales' hopes of reaching the knock-out stages. However, a knee problem had appeared to curtail his involvement after he was absent for the 2-0 loss to Sweden, but he should be fit to appear from the start.
"Between now and the end of the season Joe Allen has had more football, so you would have to say Joe is further down the line in terms of being ready to start a game," Coleman, who also has concerns over Joe Ledley and Hal Robson-Kanu, said of the Liverpool man, according to Sky Sports. "And he is integral to how we want to play because he plays in that pivot role for us."
The former Swansea City man featured in nine of Liverpool's last 10 Premier League matches last season, and came on as a second-half substitute in the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla in Basel. Jurgen Klopp is a known admirer of Allen and he is set to be a pivotal figure under the German next season.
Ledley – the Crystal Palace midfielder who broke his leg in the final month of the season – and Robson-Kanu are both available for the game against Slovakia. But Coleman is unwilling to play all three players, with the group having recently returned from injury.
"I'm not giving anything away to say we can't start with all three. It would be reckless really," he told reporters. "Joe Ledley did the injury at the end of the season and we were all thinking the same thing – a broken leg is a broken leg. But he has done so well to get back to where he is.
"I think it is fair to say you can't really see Joe playing 90 minutes. But can he play a part? Yes. He could play a part, both Joes and Hal, unless there is a real bad reaction between now and the weekend."