Letting Daniel Crowley Slip Away Wasn’t a Great Example of Villa’s ‘Long-Term Vision’
There’s no use crying over spilt milk, the saying goes, but has milk ever had the potential to taste as good as watching ex-Aston Villa youth player Daniel Crowley play?
MOMS was already mourning Crowley leaving Villa last May, when it was clear Arsenal had turned his head, before he signed a professional contract with Aston Villa. So much for the Villa board’s ‘long-term vision’.
As you’ll know, Aston Villa’s academy team are the European Champions with the club having one of the best youth set ups in the UK, but Crowley was a special talent, standing out in even in strong youth company. He made his Aston Villa U-16 debut at the age of 12, and made his U-18 bow at 15. Despite being a couple of years younger than most of his teammates, Crowley made substitute appearances during Villa’s successful NextGen Series win, and was in the squad for the victorious final win against Chelsea. He also represented England at both U-16 and now U-17 level.
With a razor-sharp mind and a ghost-like ability to glide past opponents, he was a midfield schemer par excellence. Never mind being called the ‘New Jack Wilhere’, he had a touch of Messi about him. You think this is just hyperbole? Well, check this out…
The reason, why I’m crying over spilt milk now is I’ve just seen this video of Crowley in action last week for Arsenal U-18’s against Peterborough. He seems to be getting EVEN better. If you’ve been missing watching silky skills and amazing football at Villa Park in recent times, check out the following video, if you haven’t seen it already.
This is what’s going to happen while you watch it. As it starts, you’ll think, ‘Wow, he’s good’. A few seconds later, you’ll think ‘Wow, he’s really good”. Then, you’ll start counting his assists. When you get to four, you’ll start laughing. Oh, and then, he also scores two goals for good measure. Whatever you do, don’t imagine him still being at Villa, as that will make you breakdown and cry through frustration…. Oh imagine, Crowley in the No.10 shirt of Aston Villa!
After a Villa Park diet of turgid ‘hoof’ style of football due to a featherweight Villa midfield, Crowley, if groomed correctly and with the right players around him, could have been a one-player solution to our midfield dilemma. He was only a couple of seasons away from potentially breaking in the first team to be ‘Villa’s teenage sensation’.
According to the Sunday Mirror, Aston Villa got only an initial payment of just over £200,000 for Crowley from Arsenal. Since he was only aged 15 at the time and had not agreed a professional contract, it meant Villa could only claim a set fee. Villa had approached the Premier League to argue that, because he had appeared for Villa’s Under-18 side, Crowley should be treated as a 17-year-old and his fee should be set by a tribunal. The case was dismissed. I mean, after all, it was fair enough, he was 15-years-old when you take into account his birth certificate!
Obviously, Villa would have tried to have given him a professional contract, but his advisers must not have thought much of Villa’s mooted ‘bright future’. It’s worrying, because nurturing and keeping Academy talent is part of the approach the club is pinning its hopes on. If they’re just creating talent for the tops clubs to then buy and maintain the status quo, how are Villa going to make inroads into being properly competitive again?
Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere was full of praise for Crowley when he signed for Arsenal from Villa, tweeting, ‘Trust me when I say this kid is a player! Big future….’
The sad thing is, Villa supporters should have seen him in a first team Villa shirt doing to Arsenal and Wilshere what he had previously done to Arsenal’s U-18 team, when only 15-years-old (see below video).
Just look at the bunch of young players that Villa have recently signed for around one or two million under Lambert. Are they better prospects than Crowley? Do you prefer Tonev to Crowley? Surely the money spent of any of one these players, would have been better spent on trying to keep Crowley? After all, for the next couple of years he’d be playing in a the best youth team in Europe and then have a chance of more regular first team football for Villa than Arsenal, in the transition into Premier League football. He’d help Villa kick on, and if Arsenal did want him, we’d then get millions off them.
So, again, I’d really like to know what this ‘long-term vision’ of the board is again, because what happen with Daniel Crowley surely isn’t it. UTV