Aston Villa star Crowley opts to play for England
THE FAI have lost one of Aston Villa's brightest young stars to England.
Danny Crowley (15) played for both nations in friendlies this season but has now opted to represent England in next week's U-17 European Championship qualifiers.
Only competitive games, such as qualifiers, count for tying a player to a country under FIFA's eligibility rules.
His decision represents a setback to the FAI as only three weeks ago they claimed on their website that Crowley had "pledged his allegiance to Ireland ahead of England".
The English-born attacking midfielder, who declared for Ireland through the parentage rule last year, made his choice after recently lining out for Ireland's U-17s against Croatia in a friendly.
Crowley is highly regarded at Villa, evidenced by him playing alongside players four years his senior in the Next Gen Series, a Champions League-style tournament for youth teams.
Recruiting Crowley from Ireland goes some way to compensating England for failing to lure another Villa starlet, Jack Grealish, from last season's Irish U-17 group.
The recently crowned FAI U-17 Player of the Year, Grealish, was promoted to the Villa first-team bench for two Premier League games last season despite being only 16.
Crowley's snub doesn't fully cement his long-term allegiance to England – he is entitled to one switch – but the prospects of a return appear remote.
Ireland U-17 manager Tom Mohan said he respected the decision and did not consider Crowley for inclusion in his squad for their forthcoming European Championship qualifiers.