In recent years, Arsenal have had a fine record of producing talent from the youth system and bringing them through to the first team. Admittedly, the first half of Arsene Wenger’s reign as boss failed to produce many home grown players.
The second half of Wenger’s reign has seen young British talent as well as young foreign stars plucked from elsewhere graduate from Arsenal’s youth system. Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny, Francis Coquelin, Hector Bellerin and Serge Gnabry have all had their chance and some have grasped it with both hands.
The current crop of Arsenal youth players should look up to the likes of Wilshere, Bellerin and Coquelin and use them as motivation to make it to the top. Arsenal boast a youth academy containing Dan Crowley, Krystian Bielik, Gedion Zelalem, Chuba Akpom and Alex Iwobi in their ranks.
Whilst Chuba Akpom has bags of promise, he’s unlikely to displace Olivier Giroud anytime soon. Gedion Zelalem impressed in a pre season tour of Asia in 2013 as a 16 year old but he still needs time to mature physically. Bielik has the physicality at a young age but he needs more experience playing in England before he makes a first team appearance.
Dan Crowley is arguably the most talented under 21 player in Arsenal’s squad. He has the capability to beat a man with ease, play accurate 40-50 yard passes, provide an assist from any position and score goals. Crowley boasts 10 goals in 27 league and UEFA youth league appearances this season.
Crowley has made an impression on the senior squad and received high praise from Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta “He has impressed me for two reasons,” Arteta told www.arsenal.com.
“The first is of course his talent, but also he is gaining maturity too, and if he keeps doing that then he can be a very good player.”
Dan Crowley will turn 18 in August and it will perhaps be the right time for Wenger to either send the midfielder out on loan or give him a chance in the Carling Cup. It will provide Crowley with the necessary platform to show what he can do at a higher level.
There’s no doubt Crowley has the potential to be a break out star next season. However, talent will only get a footballer so far and sometimes it comes down to determination to succeed. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Dan Crowley in years to come.