​Footballing legend and current Stoke manager Mark Hughes has admitted that Joe Allen knew he had to leave Liverpool for a new challenge in the summer.

Welsh international Allen was deemed surplus to requirements by boss Jürgen Klopp and signed a five-year deal with Stoke in July.

53-year-old Hughes, who has continuously praised his fellow Welshman's performances at the Bet365 Stadium, explained that Allen knew he had little option but to leave Anfield, where he has spent four years.

In his ​pre-match conference ahead of his side's trip to Watford, Hughes said: "Joe has made a real impact for Wales and for ourselves, and that has highlighted him to everyone.

Portugal v Wales - Semi Final: UEFA Euro 2016

“His work rate and technical abilities are tremendous. The goals he has scored has raised his profile further too."

Midfielder Allen, who was signed for Liverpool in 2012 by then manager Brendan Rodgers, scored seven times and managed five assists in his 132 appearances in his time at the Merseyside club.

Allen has proved himself to be a fantastic signing for Stoke this season. Following an incredible Euro 2016 with his national side the 'Welsh Pirlo' has scored four goals and provided three assists in all competitions for the Potters.

"He has carried on for us from where he left off in the summer. He has been outstanding and has given us a real drive and impetus." Added Hughes. “He has given us goals too. It has been a good match, him and us.

He understood he needed to leave Liverpool and has come here and prospered - he really enjoys it here. I don't think anybody who has seen him this season won't say they have been impressed."

Allen's performances in the summer and this season have seen him shortlisted for a place in the UEFA Team of The Year. 

Stoke will be hoping his performances continue as they look to improve on their form going into the winter break.