Joe Allen grateful to Gary Speed
New Liverpool signing Joe Allen has credited the late Gary Speed with playing a huge part in his rise.
Allen, 22, blossomed as a central midfielder for Wales under the management of Speed, who died last November.
The youngster became one of the most talked-about midfielders in the Premier League at Swansea last season, with his 91% pass completion rate better than that of Barcelona's Andres Iniesta.
Brendan Rodgers played a key part in the Allen's development as his manager at the Liberty Stadium before taking him to Liverpool for £15 million.
But Allen has also cited Speed as a mentor, having given the Welshman his first starts for his nation towards the end of their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign last autumn.
"He was very influential," Allen told the Liverpool Echo. "He was a great man who is sadly missed by everyone.
"In the year before his tragic death he was massive for me. If there are times when there are any doubts, you remember back (to the things he said) and you realise that you're not (doing) too bad."