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Former Ireland underage international continues good form in Dutch top flight

Dan Crowley chipped in with his seventh assist of the season as Willem II overcame AZ Alkmaar.

Dan Crowley of Willem II is challenged by AZ Alkmaar's Albert Gudmundsson.
Dan Crowley of Willem II is challenged by AZ Alkmaar's Albert Gudmundsson.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

YOUNG PLAYMAKER DAN Crowley played a pivotal role as Willem II recorded their most significant victory of the season over the weekend.

The Dutch side, who are managed by former Ajax boss Adrie Koster, moved up to 11th place in the Eredivisie by winning 2-0 away to AZ Alkmaar.

A former Ireland underage international, Crowley has been earning plenty of positive reviews for his performances in the Netherlands this season.

As well as scoring three goals in all competitions, the 21-year-old midfielder has assisted seven others — the most recent of which set up Fran Sol for the opening goal against AZ Alkmaar.

Crowley was a highly-touted prospect during his youth, which prompted Arsenal to part with a fee of £200,000 to sign him from Aston Villa at the age of 16.

A first-team breakthrough didn’t materialise with the Gunners, and while he did gain experience during loan spells at Barnsley and Oxford United, his career as a senior footballer never got off the ground in England.

Willem II brought him to the Dutch top flight last year and the skilful youngster finally appears to be delivering on the kind of promise that once led Jack Wilshere to declare that he’ll have “a big future” in the game.

Crowley, who was born in Coventry, has also represented England at underage level. However, in a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, he declared his preference for an international career with the Boys in Green.

“When I have gone away with England I have never felt like it was me” said Crowley, whose grandfather hails from Waterford. “You are not allowed [to have] an opinion for England. If you do you are seen to have a bad attitude.” 

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Paul Dollery

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