Sad to see Joe Allen leave Liverpool FC

Sad to see Joe Allen leave Liverpool FC

I was sad to read that that Liverpool and Wales midfielder Joe Allen has transferred to Stoke City, with £11M guaranteed up front plus a further £2M in add-ons.

Allen joined Liverpool in 2012 from Swansea in a £15M move, the first signing of the Brendan Rodgers era at Anfield, but injuries and an inability to ever really find his best position at his new club led to a situation where Allen became something of a utility part in the squad.

That role continued under Jürgen Klopp last season, though Allen increasingly impressed when played either as a driving eight in a three-man midfield or when he was pushed into the attacking support band as a ten. He then shone for Wales in that kind of a role at the Euros.

Joe Allen LFC

I was keen for the player to stay, and Klopp admitted that all things being equal he’d want to keep Allen around. All things, though, weren’t equal. The player had just one year left to go in his deal and wanted to be assured of significant playing time.

Liverpool couldn’t offer that, and didn’t want to lose him on a free. And if he wasn’t going to be a starter as the club looked to reshape itself in Klopp’s image, Liverpool also wanted to bring in—and give playing time to—players who would be around beyond the coming season.

He now will head to an increasingly ambitious Stoke City project, joining players like Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic, and Giannelli Imbula in a side that seeks to entertain and to play up-tempo attacking football. Quite the change from Stoke in years past.

Joe Allen makes the Best XI for Euro 2016

Joe Allen makes the Best XI for Euro 2016

The Liverpool FC legend that is Joe Allen, following Wales’s remarkable run to the semifinals of Euro 2016 made it into the Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament.

Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament

The Welsh Pirlo was the linchpin in the Wales midfield allowing the superstar Gareth Bale and the rest of their attackers to focus on the attacking end. Allen’s terrific performances were a big reason for Wales’s run through the tournament. It was their first ever international tournament and they exceeded all expectations.

Here’s to hoping that the confidence gained from the Best XI award will carry over to the new Premier League season …

Total football, total Church

Total football, total Church

I love this blog post on Total football, total Church by the Threads team.  Check out this snippet:

This European Championships will be the first to take place after the untimely death of football’s great philosopher-king, Johan Cruyff. While sadly Johan himself will not be present, Cruyff’s legacy will very much be felt at Euro 2016.

Cruyff is regarded as the pioneer of ‘Total Football’, a way of playing football in which players were free to respond to the demands of the game without traditional positional constraints. Players rotated, swapped positions and moved around the field; it is remarkable and sometimes disorienting to watch. The system relied on a strong understanding between players, effective on-pitch communication and a willingness to sacrifice individual self for the sake of the team’s collective success …

Like Total Football, the Church depends on its members working in unison to achieve an outcome that no one individual could muster alone. Each member has a role – a preferred position, if you will – and where we are able we should fulfil the role given to us (1 Corinthians 12:18). You can move around to fill the needs of your context, and sometimes you’ll feel out of position, but if your teammates (‘fellow workers’ to use a biblical term) are on the same wavelength, then you’ll be covered (Galations 6:2).

Cruyff’s disciples wholly bought into his way of playing and thinking about football. Ronald Koeman (Southampton FC manager) said, after Cruyff death: “Johan walks through my life.”

You’re a disciple of Christ? To what extent does Jesus Christ “walk through your life”? How is his presence felt in the way you perceive the role(s) you’ve been asked to play?

You don’t get to rewrite the rules of Christian discipleship, you’ve not be asked to move the goalposts, and you’ve definitely been given a position to play. But you do get to do everything in your power to play that position as intelligently and selflessly as you can. These are the tactics that have been given to us by our very own Philosopher-King.

5 Liverpool Players named in England Euro 2016 squad

5 Liverpool Players named in England Euro 2016 squad

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has proven his fitness enough to be named in the provisional Euro 2016 squad for England along with Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner, Adam Lallana, and Daniel Sturrige.

With just two days to go until the Europa League final, Liverpool’s season isn’t over just yet. For most of the clubs in Europe’s big leagues, though, Sunday marked the end of another campaign. Juventus ran away in Italy, Barcelona defended their La Liga title, Bayern Munich did what was expected of them, and Leicester City did what nobody had expected until recently.

And so, with seasons ending around the continent, the attention for many turns to France and the 2016 Euros. Roy Hodgson has named five Liverpool players to his provisional England squad—including Jordan Henderson, who had been a slight fitness doubt for the Euros before returning from injury on Sunday.

He joins a quartet of Liverpool players in Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner, Adam Lallana, and Daniel Sturridge. If fit, all will be expected to play major roles for the Three Lions at the Euros, and England’s squad looks to be one with some potential.

 

The England Squad in full:

Goalkeeper: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley)

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Andros Townsend (Newcastle), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)