Joe Allen defends Wales star pairing Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey amid criticism

Joe Allen has defended Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey amid criticism that the star duo from Wales have failed to deliver at the World Cup.

Skipper Bale and Ramsey have taken Wales’ so-called ‘golden generation’ to dizzying heights over the past decade.

Wales reached their first World Cup in 64 years thanks to qualification for two European Championships, the first of which saw them reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

But Bale, 33, and Ramsey, 31, have struggled to make their mark at Qatar 2022 and Wales are on the verge of a quick exit from the World Cup.

“They’re two incredible players, they are and were for our country,” Allen said ahead of Tuesday’s final group match against England in Doha.

Joe Allen defended his best teammates (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“I don’t think there is anyone else in the team who has reached the heights he is capable of.

“It’s a big game coming, they are important players and always have been.

“Hopefully, if there’s criticism coming, they’ll be able to answer some of that criticism with an outstanding performance.”

Wales cling to slim hopes of reaching the last 16 after picking up just one point in matches against the United States and Iran.

Friday’s 2-0 defeat by Iran left them beating England, something they hadn’t done in 38 years, and hoping for a favorable outcome between Iran and the United States.

Any other result than a draw which would see Wales eliminated, unless they beat England by a margin of four goals.

Allen said: “(Qualification) is not impossible, no. It’s a difficult task.

“It’s always uncomfortable when it’s not in your hands and you rely on certain things to make it happen.

“But while there’s still a chance it’s really simple for us.

“We are fully motivated, fully incentivized to absolutely go all out to get the win.

“So, who knows? Hopefully there is still a chance to get us out of this group.

Joe Allen came off the bench against Iran

Joe Allen came off the bench against Iran (Nick Potts/PA)

Swansea midfielder Allen returned after two months out with a hamstring injury and came on as a substitute against Iran to win his 73rd cap.

He said: “I have mixed feelings in terms of pride in playing for my country in a World Cup but a very disappointing performance and result. I’m ready to go (against England).

“It was not a fair reflection of what we are capable of.

“It was a real disappointment because we can offer so much more, and we will definitely have to do that in the next game.”

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