Having learnt much of his trade at Aston Villa, Dan Crowley will know Arsenal Under-21s’ next opponents very well.
The 17-year-old is set to be reacquainted with many of his former team-mates at London Colney on Friday, but Villa will be without one of their brightest young talents - and one of Crowley’s good friends.
After enjoying an extended run in the first team, Jack Grealish stole the show in Villa’s FA Cup semi-final victory against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, and Crowley could not be more proud.
"The boss gives youngsters a chance here and it’s great to see Tim Sherwood doing it because a lot of my friends are getting on the bench"
“We played together in the under-18s when I was 14 and Jack was 15,” the playmaker said. “It’s great to see him doing so well and I’m really proud of him. He deserves it, he has worked hard and he’s a Villa boy through and through.
“He was quality in the FA Cup semi-final and I’m so pleased for him. He played really well but that’s what happens when managers give you a chance. The boss does it here and it’s great to see Tim Sherwood doing it because a lot of my friends are getting on the bench.
“Riccardo Calder is getting a bit of a sniff, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and a few of the other lads have also been on the bench so that’s really good to see.
“It’s really inspiring for me to see Jack doing so well, because seeing him playing for the first team gives me hope of doing the same here. It shows you that the chance is there and it is very close.”
Arsenal Under-21s host Aston Villa at London Colney on Friday. Kick-off is at 1pm and you can follow live updates of the game via @Arsenal from 12.55pm (UK time).
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