Football

Dan Crowley Retains Irish Ambition With Biting Criticism Of English Set-Up

Dan Crowley Retains Irish Ambition With Biting Criticism Of English Set-Up

Finding his feet with Willem II in the Dutch Eredivisie, Dan Crowley is still patiently waiting for international recognition from Martin O'Neill.

Born in Coventry, but of an Irish persuasion, the former Arsenal man has been afforded a rare dual perspective of international football. Representing both the Republic of Ireland and England at U-16 and U-17 levels, the 21-year-old midfielder has no doubts about where his heart lies.

Construed as something of a rebellious figure (he has represented five clubs in his short career; not including Arsenal), Dan Crowley doesn't believe the English international set-up is well equipped to deal with rebels.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Crowley reiterated his desire to play for the Republic of Ireland first and foremost. Grateful for the opportunity he was afforded within the underage English system, it's just not for him.

"When I have gone away with England I have never felt like it was me," Crowley admitted.

"You are not allowed an opinion for England. If you do you are seen to have a bad attitude."

Playing his third season in the Netherlands (he also played for Go Ahead Eagles), Crowley has found himself warming to the Dutch approach to football.

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Somewhat more welcoming of rebels, Crowley wasn't reluctant to point out more flaws in current English set-up.

Scrutinising their approach to younger academy products, Crowley, in a similar tone to Manchester City's Pep Guardiola, is particularly critical of an U-23 system that does little to prepare young players for the rigours of the first-team game.

"This is the problem for English youngsters: where do you take the next step? U-23s football is not competitive enough," Crowley explained.

"There are no fans and you are not playing for anything. I wasn't ready for the first team or the Championship. League One wasn't my football. I needed to play."

A technically gifted #10, it is a small wonder that Crowley hasn't been heard of within Irish footballing circles in recent years. In 2015, Martin O'Neill was understood to have conversed with Crowley's father.

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Later that year, then Republic of Ireland U-21s manager Noel King, a little sensitive regarding the as yet ongoing Jack Grealish saga, confirmed that he would not be making any move for the 18-year-old Crowley.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, King stated; "We know all about Daniel but I won't be pursuing him. He knows our position. Martin O'Neill had a chat with Danny's father and it is up to them to decide.

"I certainly won't be trying to convince him. You have to let players and their families choose for themselves because it is a big decision."

A respectful stance on King's behalf, it would certainly appear that Dan Crowley has since made up his mind, and see his future in an Ireland jersey.

See Also: Obafemi Included But Clark Cut As O'Neill Trims Ireland Squad

Arthur James O'Dea

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