One in, one out as Crowley and Brown go their separate ways

They are good friends from their time together in the England set-up, but Dan Crowley and Jordan Brown missed out on being club team-mates by a matter of hours this week.

Brown, who impressed for Arsenal at U18 level during his final season as a schoolboy, was offered a scholarship at London Colney, but, after much consideration, opted to turn it down in favour of a move to West Ham United, with the striker completing his move to Upton Park on Thursday.

Less than 24 hours later Crowley secured his protracted move to the Gunners amidst much anticipation, although it is unlikely that the club will officially announce the signing of the midfielder from Aston Villa as he does not turn 16 until August.

Brown’s departure leaves Arsenal considerably light in the striking department at U18 level, especially as Austin Lipman, who was the regular centre-forward throughout last season’s Academy League campaign, will be hoping to step up to the U21s during 2013/14. Several recent trialists, including Mads Thychosen of Denmark and the young Swede Jamaal Raage, are under consideration, but, if a signing is not made in that position then a schoolboy, such as Olufela Olomola or Stephy Mavididi, may receive regular run-outs.

As far as Crowley is concerned, it will be especially interesting to see how he is deployed during his first season at the club. The youngster prefers to operate in an advanced midfield role, which could cause coach Carl Laraman something of a selection problem when the FA Youth Cup comes around, with Glen Kamara, Jack Jebb and Gedion Zelalem also hoping to be involved.

Given that the likes of Chuks Aneke, Kristoffer Olsson and Jon Toral are also on the club’s books, Crowley will face a fight to establish himself in the U21 set-up, despite having featured twice at that level for Villa towards the end of the campaign. However, such is Crowley’s outstanding vision and passing ability, not to mention his impressive scoring record at junior levels, it will be extremely difficult to ignore his numerous talents for long.

Capped nine times by England at U17 level, Crowley’s ability to link play and weave his way past defenders has seen him labelled as one of the country’s outstanding prospects. Arsenal have certainly secured a talented player, but the way in which his first season in North London pans out will be especially intriguing.



  1. We seem to have a ton of attacking midfielders in the youth ranks … does it not make sense to focus on other areas like the strikers and centre halaves.

    I know only one of these will make it, but there’s no point in have some many players creating chances and nobody to put them away???

    Shame about Brown I suupose thats the nature of youth game players are being poached by other clubs including Arsenal.

    1. well when you only play 1 up front but 5 in midfield, you would expect that for every 1 striker you need 5 midfielders.
      wenger has always played versions of 451 and I don’t expect that to change. 4141, 4231, even 4411.
      Brown has no doubt looked at the current situation with Akpom, Lipman, Gnabry, Jeffrey, Ansah, Afobe, Campbell and even chamberlain all capable of playing through the middle and the eldest one being 20 year old Afobe and thought, he will have a better chance at west ham. Only time will tell, but the pressure on west ham to stay in the premier league, means he is probably just as unlikely to make the breakthrough there.

    2. Wouldn’t say center backs. We have dallison, Dobson, stefan o Conor, siemann, prob pleaguezuelo, boatneg remains, miquel, hayden (though I prefer him as dm), Elliot wright, Uade. These are all at least scholarship level haven’t included schoolboys. See your point regarding strikers but if some of these school boys have the necessary quality see no harm in promoting them early if external recruits aren’t a clear cut level above them.

    1. scored 2 against vs our u18s, doesn’t really matter anyway how much he scores. Creativity is his strength, Jack has only ever scored 1 goal for england at all levels.

      1. It was a reference to Jeorge’s comment about his high scoring rate. He seems to score very rarely. It shouldn’t need pointing out but an attacking midfielder should be a fairly regular goal scorer. It can separate an average player from a top player. Wilshere needs to start scoring more.

      2. Well how about rosicky. He is far from being a goalscorer yet has carved a decent career. In fact rosicky has a pretty poor assist rate too.

  2. There many of average players that score a lot, and many top class players that score quite little. At the end the day its just a simplistic way of looking at things for simpletons. Its better to look at a players overall contribution, but that of course requires some understanding of the game

    1. Only simpleton’s write “at the end of the day”. Only friggin’ morons don’t understand the need for attacking midfield players to score goals.

  3. Zidane never scored more than 12 goals in a season his entire career. Iniesta is yet to manage more than 9. Nobody in their right mind would rather have Lampard in their side. Goals are not, and never will be, a mark of quality.

    1. Goals are important for an attacking midfield player. It’s not just Lampard but think of the top attacking English midfielders of the past at their best – Scholes, Gazza, Gerrard. Robson, Hoddle etc. Geddit now?

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