Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen is hoping a return to the Liberty Stadium this week with the Wales national team will provide the kickstart his campaign desperately needs.
Chris Coleman’s side entertain Austria in a friendly on Wednesday and the 22-year-old is keenly aware of how his performances have dropped in recent weeks.
It comes in stark contrast to the exceptional early-season form shown by Allen after initially making his move from Swansea to Anfield in the summer and he remains determined to force his way back into the starting XI, allaying any fears that his slump is connected to his hefty £15 million price-tag in the process.
“I’d never put it down to [the price-tag]. Whether that has affected me or not, I don’t really know,” he told reporters.
“Everyone knows my form hasn’t been great. It’s been disappointing not to have been involved in every game.
“But it’s up to me now to work hard and get myself back in the team and improve my level of performance.
“It’s always nice to go back to Swansea. You try and separate club and international duties but I’m delighted to be back.”
The Reds currently sit seventh league, nine points adrift of Tottenham in fourth, while the Welsh national team are fifth out of six in their World Cup qualifying group and Allen believes that both club and country are not getting the credit or points that their performances have merited.
He added: “It’s almost the story of the season. We’ve deserved more than we’ve got and Sunday’s game at Manchester City was probably a prime example of that.
“It’s similar here [with Wales]. Both are positive and looking to the future and the biggest thing is everyone has that faith and belief that things will turn around for the better.
“I’d like to think the New Year is a fresh start for Wales. The results over the last few games haven’t been as good as we’d hoped for. We’re looking to improve
“Consistency is key. In international football you don’t get the chance to work with each other that often so it’s important that, when you get together, you can get your ideas and philosophy across.”