Allen form impresses Speed

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Wales boss Gary Speed says Joe Allen's assured performance in the victory over Switzerland has shown that the Swansea midfielder belongs at international level.

Allen, 21, was handed his first start for his country in the 2-0 Liberty Stadium success over Ottmar Hitzfeld's side as injuries to the likes of Joe Ledley and Jack Collison left a vacancy in the middle of the park. And Allen's impressive display saw him dovetail superbly with captain and former under-21 team-mate Aaron Ramsey.

Speed said: "Joe was excellent, and that was only his first start. He has been playing great for Swansea and he showed that he can play at the top level. I had no hesitation in picking him, and there was no sentiment involved, it wasn't a Swansea thing because we were playing at their ground. He is an excellent player on the ball."

Friday night's success over the Swiss means Speed and company can still secure what not too long ago would have seemed an unlikely third-place finish in Group G of qualifying for Euro 2012.

They will round off their campaign against Bulgaria in Sofia on Tuesday, where they will require a win and have to hope the Swiss come unstuck against Montenegro if they are to claim that third spot.

The Bulgarians parted company with coach and former Germany great Lothar Matthaus last month, with caretaker Mihail Madanski set to take charge for the first time at the Vasil Levski Stadium.

And Speed has warned that his side will need to be on their mettle against a team desperate to prove their worth ahead of the appointment of a new full-time coach.

"We want to finish third but obviously the Swiss have another game too," he said.

"Bulgaria will be a tough game for us, they have a new coach and it's never good when you come up against a team with a new coach as they are up for it.

"Going there is never easy and it was always going to be tough, but we can take confidence from our recent results and hopefully we can get a result."

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Gary Speed
Aaron Ramsey
Joe Allen
Premier League
Joe Ledley
Jack Collison
Swansea City
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