Dan Crowley signs first professional Arsenal contract

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Arsenal starlet Dan Crowley has used his personal Twitter account to confirm signing his first professional contract with the Gunners, just 24 hours after his 17th birthday.

Crowley is one of the most highly rated youngsters in an Arsenal academy under pressure to produce more first-team stars following a lean spell in recent years, but the England youth international has the talent and technical qualities to make the leap towards first-team contention in the future if his development continues.

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Jack Wilshere comparisons already clear

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has consistently proved across 18 years in North London that he'll give young players every opportunity to shine if they have the application and drive to match raw potential, a stance that probably persuaded Crowley to rather controversially swap Aston Villa for Arsenal last summer.

Crowley's first season in the youth ranks at the London Colney was injury-laden but productive nonetheless, with one particularly devastating performance in the FA Youth Cup against Peterborough United teasing at a new creative force in English football in future years.

Hard not to get excited

That January night saw Crowley really take centre-stage as an advanced central playmaker in Arsenal's under-18 side, scoring twice and setting up the other four in a 6-1 rout that had Posh fans at London road begging for Peterborough to approach the Gunners for a loan deal.

Crowley also made his bow for the Arsenal Under-21's last season but hurt his ankle in that maiden start, curtailing a promising campaign which more than enough to justify Arsenal's hefty outlay for the teenager, which was rumoured to be in the region £800,000.

Give him time

Loan spells will almost definitely be in the conversation sooner rather than later for the attacking midfielder, but for now Arsenal's primary focus will be on easing the academy standout's transition to the under-21 side on a regular basis this season.

Arsenal have had a few false dawns in recent years in terms of academy scholars, with the likes of Jay Emanuel-Thomas and Jay Simpson failing to make the grade at the Emirates, but Crowley is earning rave reviews and after signing pro terms is on the path to follow Wilshere to the first team quickly.

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