Allen aims to be as good as Xavi

Liverpool's Joe Allen was delighted to hear of praise given by manager Brendan Rodgers and promised to work hard to become as good as Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez.

Allen keeping the ball well...

By staff

The Welshman's signing was greeted positively by many Liverpool fans as he is noted for his passing abilities, helping fill a void left by the departure of the excellent Xabi Alonso who previously was the fulcrum of the midfield.

Allen has not made the requisite impact, however, to be regarded as a shrewd transfer and the recent injury of Brazilian anchorman Lucas has prevented him from contributing much in attack as well.

Nevertheless, Rodgers holds a high opinion of the 22-year-old and tipped him to go on and become a worldclass midfielder in his own regard in the near future. He even called him the 'Welsh Xavi' in a passing remark in an interview earlier in the year.

The Welsh international admits that he is not at his best just yet but he hopes to become better over time and emulate some of the best midfielders in the game, including the Barcelona passing maestro himself.

"I know I've got to work hard on all aspects of my game on all aspects of my game, particularly my goalscoring record, to reach the top level," he told The Mirror.

"We can be a bit self-deprecating in Britain.

"But I'm ambitious and, as long as I keep working and developing, why shouldn't I aim to be as good as someone like Xavi?"

"I know I'm miles off at the moment, but there's no reason why we can't produce that level of player in Britain.

"Xavi and Iniesta are the players I watch and try to learn from, so it's natural that I should try to be as good as them.

"I'm lucky in a sense that I'm playing in an era in which my size is not an issue and when people are enjoying the style of football I like to play.

"I was even smaller for my age when I was younger, but I always had an underlying confidence that I would be a professional footballer. That's probably the reason I am.

Signed in the region of £15 million, Allen has been criticised by certain football observers for dwelling too long on the ball and being conservative with his passing. The midfielder is not fazed by such criticism and insisted that he tries to take every suggestion on board in a bid to improve as a player.

"I don't look at opinions about me as criticism. I treat them as opinions and if they come from the people who have achieved a lot in the game, I take them on board and see if I can learn from them.

"I knew the price tag would be a challenge in itself, but I was ready for that and to prove my worth.

"I also knew I was moving to a massive club and that has certainly been the case.

"The main difference between being a Swansea player and a Liverpool player is that at Liverpool everything you do and every minute you play is scrutinised.

"Brendan is all about giving his players ­confidence. I don't know if he was being ­serious with the comparison with Xavi, but he's ­always looking to make you feel good about ­yourself.

"Confidence plays a huge part in football. You can't be ­successful ­without it."

Allen will face his old club Swansea in the Premier League on Sunday and has yet to score a goal or assist for the Reds this season.

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