Joe Allen believes Wales pair Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have proved the critics wrong in “special fashion” at Euro 2020.
Bale and Ramsey shone as Wales beat Turkey 2-0 on Wednesday to move within touching distance of the round of 16.
Ramsey opened the scoring in Baku and Bale atoned for his second-half penalty miss with two superb assists as Wales made it four points from two games.
“I think some people probably had the narrative drawn up long before that game,” Allen told Sky Sports about Wales’ star men.
“When you’re world-class players like Gareth and Aaron the focus is always going to be on you.
“I think the pair of them were incredible the other night and certainly answered the critics in special fashion.”
Bale had a mixed season on loan at Tottenham from Real Madrid as Jose Mourinho often kept him on the bench before his departure in April.
The Wales captain made just 10 Premier League starts but scored 16 goals in all competitions.
Ramsey had a stop-start season with form and fitness issues at Juventus, but the midfielder returns to Italy on Sunday for Wales’ final Group A fixture looking sharp.
Italy have impressed with successive 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland, but Stoke midfielder Allen believes Wales will benefit from being underdogs at the Stadio Olimpico.
“It suits us down to the ground,” Allen said. “We know we can rely on being solid defensively.
“We know that everyone’s going to put a shift in and give absolutely everything to protect our own goal.
“And with the likes of Gareth and Aaron linking up, Daniel James and Kieffer Moore, we’ve got all sorts of threats.
“We’ve got threats off the bench as well that bring different attributes.
“We’ve got the ability to hurt teams.”