Saturday 21 September 2019

Holland-based playmaker Crowley confirms Irish intention

'Crowley has now said he wants to declare for Ireland. '
'Crowley has now said he wants to declare for Ireland. '

Sam Wallace

Dual-qualified playmaker Dan Crowley has confirmed that he wants to play international football for Ireland. The 21-year-old is currently playing in Holland for Eredivisie club Willem II who he joined permanently following his release from Arsenal.

Crowley is Coventry-raised of Irish heritage and has played for England and Republic of Ireland at underage level. He met Martin O'Neill in 2015 while he was undecided about his international future and the Ireland manager suggested last week that he was struck by Crowley's confidence.

But the player was unsure about his intentions at that stage.

Crowley has now said he wants to declare for Ireland. His Irish grandfather moved to the east midlands from Waterford and Crowley spent his childhood summers in Ireland.

"When I have gone away with England I have never felt like it was me" he says. "You are not allowed an opinion for England. If you do you are seen to have a bad attitude."

At 16, Arsenal paid Aston Villa £209,000 in compensation for this prodigiously talented midfielder who despite his small stature was playing U-18 football at 14 and then for the U-23 team at 16.

His loan spells at Barnsley and Oxford United ended with him being sent back to Arsenal. In Holland, he has thrived. Crowley is a straight talker, brutally honest about his strengths and his mistakes.

"I have always known how good I was," he says. "Imagine not fulfilling your potential and living the rest of your life with that, I just couldn't do it. If I wasn't as good as I think I am I think I would have given up.

"Just because of living away and the s*** I have been through and the constant battles with coaches.

"Why should I stop because of other people? I would only be letting myself down. I think I could be one of the best No 10s in the world."

Crowley was first sent to Holland on loan with Go Ahead Eagles in December 2016, which put him on the radar of Willem II, where he has impressed this season. He hopes O'Neill is taking heed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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