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Dan Crowley’s Career is at the Crossroads

Dan Crowley

Widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects at the club, Daniel Crowley was supposed to be the new Jack Wilshere, only without the injury issues and nicotine habit.

Now though, with loan deals at two League One teams having both been cut short in consecutive seasons, Crowley is already at a critical juncture in his developing career if he’s to make it at the Emirates.

Last season Crowley left a six-month loan with Barnsley two months early, with the Tykes initially questioning his readiness for League One football.  After being withdrawn at the interval in a 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood Town in October, Crowley would play less first-team football over the remainder of the season than the time it would take to read a Spreadex brand review.

A few days later the then Barnsley manager Lee Johnson insisted that it was Arsenal’s decision to terminate the deal and was gushing in his praise of the youngster, claiming that, “He’s probably one of the best, or the best, or most talented 18-year-olds I’ve ever seen.”It was even implied that he was returning to London to be involved with the Arsenal first-team, but nothing materialized and Crowley saw out the campaign with the Gunners youth side.

It was all very contradictory and suggested that a certain amount of diplomacy had been used to try and explain the early return.  With Johnson himself being a former Arsenal youth player, he was no doubt keen to maintain a strong relationship with his former club with future deals in mind.

Earlier this month Oxford United boss Michael Appleton called time on Crowley’s season-long loan after just 11 games.  This time there was no such ambiguity as to why the deal was brought to a premature close, with Appleton stating that “I’m certainly not going to lose sleep if Arsenal have got an issue with Oxford United going forward.

“The one thing we are, and will always be, is very professional. Nothing and nobody will ever get in the way of what we’re trying to do from a team culture and ethos point of view.”

According to reports in the Dutch media, Crowley is currently undergoing a trial at Go Ahead Eagles, with the prospect of a loan deal with Eredivisie strugglers once the transfer window re-opens for business in January.

Crowley controversially joined Arsenal from Aston Villa’s academy in 2013, but has yet to make a senior appearance for the Gunners.  The 19 year-old, who has played for both Ireland and England at youth level, is out of contract at the season’s end and his chances of winning a new deal may depend on how he conducts himself over the remainder of the campaign.

There are few doubts surrounding Crowley’s ability, but history is littered with talented youngsters who fell by the wayside without ever fulfilling their potential.  The next six months could go a long way to deciding whether Crowley becomes one of them.