JOE Allen has revealed how singing with the Manic Street Preachers has brought home how close Wales actually are to Euro 2016.
Chris Coleman’s squad linked up with the Manics this week to produce an official song for Euro 2016 - Wales’ first major tournament for 58 years.
‘Together Stronger (C’mon Wales)’ will be released close to the tournament on May 20, and Allen admits it was exciting to sing alongside the award-winning Welsh rock band who have sold 10 million albums over the last three decades.
“In some ways I suppose it was a bit like getting measured for your suits before a cup final,” said Liverpool midfielder Allen.
“We’ve had four months where everybody has been fully focused on their club football, and coming away now together reminds you what is ahead.
“I’m a big Manics fan anyway, so to work with them and be part of the song was incredible.
“It’s a sign of how much all this means, not just to the players but to everybody.
“It’s something that only happens if you go to a tournament, isn’t it?
“So it does make you realise how we have all been working for this.
“Now we just can’t wait to get out to France and get started.”
Wales build towards Euro 2016 this week with two friendlies in the space of four days.
They welcome Northern Ireland to Cardiff on Thursday before playing Ukraine in Kiev on Monday.
Star men Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey head up a lengthy absentee list but Allen said there was a buzz around the camp.
“We have to make the most of the time we have got because there won’t be another chance before we meet up in the summer,” said Allen.
“It is disappointing to lose players like Aaron and Gareth.
“But the flip-side is it is a chance for other players to step in and stake a claim for the squad in France.
“Preparations are under way for the tournament, it is getting nearer now and we cannot wait to get in as many games as we can.”
Allen has had an injury-hit campaign and has struggled to make an impression since Jurgen Klopp arrived at Anfield last October.
The 26-year-old has started only three Premier League games all season, and has just over a year left on his Liverpool contract.
“The season has been okay on a personal level, but then it has been incredible from a Wales point of view,” said Allen.
“I’ve figured in the Euro 2016 campaign and I’ve felt really proud and privileged to be part of it.
“I’m not somebody who needs an extra incentive to go and work hard in training every day, but it has been great to have the knowledge that France was coming up in the back of my mind.
“I think for every player in the squad they have known what is waiting at the end of the season, and that’s been amazing for everyone.
“It has made sure everyone has pushed themselves, and sub-consciously or not worked a little bit harder.
“Everyone has their eye on making sure they have a good season going into the tournament.”