Last Updated: 09/10/18 7:17pm
Joe Allen has never played at the Principality Stadium for Wales
Joe Allen feels Welsh football is in the right place to return to the Principality Stadium.
Wales are back at the 74,500-capacity rugby citadel on Thursday, with former world and European champions Spain providing high-profile friendly opposition, live on Sky Sports Football.
A crowd of around 50,000 is expected for Wales’ first game there since March 2011 and Allen said: “We’ve come a long way since the days when the atmosphere and the performances were questioned.
Wales vs Spain
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“I’m sure that’s been behind the decision to play this game there.
“We’ve had great games and great atmospheres at the Cardiff City Stadium in recent years but we’re looking forward to playing there again.
“For this type of game I’m sure the atmosphere is going to be great.”
Darren Bent was on target in a 2-0 win for England in Wales’ last match at the Principality Stadium – then known as the Millennium Stadium
Allen has played at the Principality Stadium for Team GB during the 2012 Olympics but was an unused substitute when Wales last played there in a 2-0 defeat to England in Euro 2012 qualifying.
“A lot has happened for Welsh football in that time but I will finally get the chance to play for Wales there,” said Allen.
“I used to go there when I was a kid as I was fortunate that my school went to all the games. There were some great ones and the Italy game [a 2-1 win for Wales in 2002] stands out.
“They were incredible occasions for a kid and inspired me to be one of the players out there in the future.”
Harry Wilson scored a superb free-kick against Manchester United last month but says Gareth Bale remains the No 1 choice for Wales from set-pieces
Wales are continuing to monitor the fitness of Gareth Bale after the forward came off in the closing stages of Real Madrid’s La Liga defeat at Alaves on Saturday.
Manager Ryan Giggs must also strike the right balance on selection with a UEFA Nations League trip to the Republic of Ireland five days later.
“As a player you always hope you to get the chance to test yourself against these teams,” said Stoke midfielder Allen, who could come up against the likes of Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, Thiago Alcantara, of Bayern Munich, and Atletico Madrid pair Koke and Saul Niguez.
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“It is going to be a great challenge and one which will test ourselves to the limits. The players are right at the top of world football and a lot of homework has gone into playing them.
“I think there’s a certain element of understanding that you will have long periods where they keep the ball.
“We need to be fully focused and right on top of our game because they are as good defensively as they are with the ball as well.”