While many have tipped Birmingham City to be involved in a relegation struggle this season, they got off to the perfect start on Saturday with a 1-0 away win over Brentford.
From an Irish perspective, it was a particularly interesting tie as it marked the return of Dan Crowley to English football, having signed for City from Willem II in the summer. The midfielder did not disappoint on his debut.
No player completed more dribbles than Dan Crowley (22) in Brentford versus Birmingham City this afternoon.
• 6 dribbles attempted
• 4 dribbles completed
It was his Championship debut too. pic.twitter.com/NfcEQYYm6U
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) August 3, 2019
The Birmingham Mail gave him a seven out of ten in their match ratings, saying:
The birthday boy showed plenty of skill on his debut and is already exciting Blues fans, who chanted his name for the majority of the game.
Crowley isn't afraid to try things. A few clever passes in behind found Maghoma in the first half, while others went astray.
City's fans were also impressed by his performance.
Don’t want to overreact but I think Dan Crowley is the best midfielder I’ve seen in a Blues shirt in years.
— Matthew Jones (@MatthewJonesss) August 3, 2019
Brilliant from Dan Crowley. His through balls are excellent. So good in possession.
— Kane (@KaneGStyles) August 3, 2019
No idea how we’re winning this but Dan Crowley is life #bcfc
— James Jenkinson (@JamesJenkinson_) August 3, 2019
LIKE DAN CROWLEY
MAKES ME HAPPY
MAKES ME FEEL THIS WAY
— 💙 (@DajerbalJames) August 3, 2019
— Akhbar (@1Akh_bar) August 3, 2019
Should the 22-and-a-day year-old keep up a run of good form then there is no doubt he'll feature on Mick McCarthy's radar. McCarthy traveled to watch Crowley in person at last season's Dutch Cup final but unfortunately Crowley only came off the bench in 4-0 defeat to Ajax.
Despite playing for both the English and Irish underage teams, Crowley has committed his future to the Republic of Ireland set-up.