There is always this crave from fans and media alike to get the next big thing in the game. When a young player is coming through the youth ranks of a the squad, after a series of stellar performances from such a player, as is typical with the average fan there is raving of any skill, goals and technique shown by such a player.
That is the situation with Daniel Crowley at the moment. The young English midfielder has been one of the revelations of the development squad this season. The 17 year old has developed a niche for scoring sublime free kicks like he did in an FA Cup Youth Cup tie against Reading. He has since scored ten goals in 19 games for the Youth team this season.
As a result of how he has preformed this season, it was Mikel Arteta that set the ball rolling when he wrote in his match day program about the player’s development.
“He has impressed me for two reasons”,
“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.”
That’s obviously a huge praise from the Arsenal captain, who at 34 has seen several young players in his time as a player in the English game. He went further to expatiate on why he thought, he is primed for success.
“If you had asked me a few months ago if he was heading in the right direction, I wouldn’t have been able to give you a certain answer.
“But now I can say I really like the way he has matured and grown up lately.”
These comments have been made about several young players in the past, it is easy to forget that for every Jack Wilshere that has come through the Arsenal Academy, there is a Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
If Daniel Crowley turns out to be another Jack Wilshere, that will be very fine and good. However, it is always necessary for every expectation to be mixed with a hint of caution in order to avoid any disappointment in case it turns out differently in the long run.
A certain Arturo Lupoli scored lots of goals for the Youth team, for a number of years, but that was as good as it got for the Italian who did not hit any height in football terms after he left the club. This is why a player’s performance at youth level should not be a solid enough evidence to gauge a player’s long term prospects.
Benik Afobe scored lots of goals for Arsenal at youth level, but he never had the opportunity to replicate the same level of performance for the senior team, although, he never got the opportunity to get enough first team action, which could be for reasons that he was not good enough for the team. However, he has done reasonably well for MK Dons in League One, with a permanent move to Wolves in the Championship on the cards, those within Arsenal would watch closely to see how he performs at that level.
In a nutshell, caution should be the watch word, when there is a rave about a developing talent, such a player can be unplayable at youth level, yet he could turn out to be the opposite at senior level. These players should be allowed to develop without pressure of too much expectation.