Saturday 23 March 2019

The diminutive play-maker who was highly rated at Arsenal: All you need to know about Daniel Crowley

Dan Crowley during his Arsenal days
Dan Crowley during his Arsenal days

John Fallon

As revealed by the Irish Independent today, Daniel Crowley has pledged his international future to Ireland. Here is all you need to know about the 21-year-old.

Where was he born and what's his age?

Daniel Crowley was born in Coventry and is now 21.

What his style?

Diminutive with bundles of skill. Usually operates as a link-man in the No 10 role.

How is he eligible for Ireland?

Crowley's grandparents on his father Dave's side are from Waterford and Cork. His mother's grandparents hail from Mayo.

He spent his summers in Tramore, playing a variety of sports, including the annual Feile GAA tournament. Crowley was a regular at his local GAA club, Roger Casements.

What's his football at club level story so far?

Made rapid progress at his first club Aston Villa, playing in the NextGen final against Chelsea at the age of 16. He'd also trained with the first-team by then.

An invitation to meet Arsene Wenger led to a move to Arsenal in 2014. Villa received £209,000 in compensation after pursuing the matter to an FA tribunal.

At Arsenal, he once again graduated to first-team level, Jack Wilshere tipping him for a bright future. Loan moves to Barnsley and Oxford United, however, were mixed. His goal against Everton in the League Cup marked the highpoint of his Barnsley stay while Oxford boss Mike Appleton cited a lack of professionalism when cutting the loan short.

In December 2016, with his Arsenal future uncertain, he opted for a move abroad, joining Dutch Eredivisie outfit Go Ahead Eagles on loan.

He's remained in Holland since, joining Willem II to a three-year contract.

Here are some of his best bits:

How has this season gone?

Much better than last. The arrival of Adrie Koster as manager ended a disappointing spell of being frozen out and he's flourished under the former Dutch international.

So far, he's played 22 games, scoring four times – including two in his last three games – and providing eight assists.

Willem II face AZ Alkmaar twice over the next five days, firstly Sunday in the league following by the Dutch Cup semi-final on Thursday.

What's his international status?

He represented both England and Ireland at Under-16 level, his final appearance in green coming in 2013 at Under-17 level against Croatia.

He then played his first competitive underage internationals with England but was invited to meet Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane in 2015.

According to Crowley, as his club career stalled, international football wasn't a realistic goal. It was only this season, after he'd established himself in the Willem II side, that he spoke about his preference to pursue an international career with Ireland.

He remained in contact with the FAI's scout Mark O'Toole, requesting him to initiate the process of applying to FIFA for an international transfer. Once that is complete, and it can take between two and four months, he is permanently tied to Ireland.

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