Joe Allen glad to learn from team-mates past and present
Joe Allen has credited Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and some of those who kept him out of Liverpool's team for his rebirth as an attacking midfielder at Stoke.
The Wales international made a £13million switch to the bet365 Stadium this summer having been stuck behind the abundance of midfield talent currently spearheading a title charge at Anfield.
Although Potters boss Mark Hughes had no initial designs to utilise Allen as a number 10, the 26-year-old has flourished in a more advanced position having scored four times in five games while laying on both of Wilfried Bony's goals against Swansea on Monday.
The midfielder thinks working alongside the likes of Bale and Ramsey at international level, and old Reds colleagues Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana on the domestic scene, has seen their magic rub off.
"It's natural for any player to do that," he said of learning from them.
"With Wales you've got the likes of Gaz and Aaron and there is so much you can learn from them, but also the players I was fortunate enough to play with at Liverpool. Players like Coutinho and Lallana have played in a similar sort of role to the one I'm playing now; you try to pick up a thing or two from them and that's what I've tried to do."
Allen spent four years on Merseyside but found it difficult to shine as his appearances became more limited.
In Staffordshire, where Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri already caught the eye, Allen has established himself as an integral figure in Hughes' plans and he is relishing having a more important role.
"I enjoyed my time at Liverpool and learned so much but it was time to move on," he added.
"There is so much quality in a team like that and you have to find a new challenge.
"I was excited about coming to a club like Stoke and staking a claim for a place but I was confident I had a lot to bring to this team and I could be an important player for them.
"I think that makes all the difference to you when you're maybe given a bit more responsibility and licence to express yourself a bit more."
Both Hughes and television pundit Jamie Carragher joked Allen, who had scored only five times for club and country over the previous three seasons, was experiencing a drought having gone two games without scoring.
With half-a-dozen goals already for Stoke and Wales this term, Allen does not believe his early-season scoring spell is an anomaly.
"I think everyone knows that the goalscoring record I've had in the past has not been the best but I maintain the confidence that if I'm asked to play further forward I can get into positions where I will chip in with a few," he claimed.
"I believe this isn't just a flash in the pan and I can keep this consistency going."