Martinez: Allen is like Pep
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has likened Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen to Pep Guardiola, admitting he knew the Welshman was going to be a special player.
Martinez, who handed Allen his league debut at 17 when he was manager at Swansea, will be looking to combat the midfielder when he takes his Wigan side to Anfield on Saturday.
Latics chief Martinez is a big admirer of Allen and feels he has many of the qualities similar to former Barcelona and Spain schemer Guardiola.
"I know Joe really well because I gave him his debut," said Martinez. "Joe was at Swansea from nine years old and because of his build he always reminded me of Pep Guardiola and that sort of player.
"His debut was the last game of 2006-07 and I really tested his character, because we needed to win by many goals to get in the play-offs but at 17 you could see he was a special character.
"He dictated the play, wanted the ball, and the season after he played a part in the campaign when we won League One and then in the Championship he played 23 games.
"His development was progressive and he became a very different British player.
"He was very talented that he could control the game, read the tempo, knew when to play backwards and sideways instead of forward. He was a quiet, distinctive young player coming through."