Dan Crowley was sent off during a friendly match for loan team, Go Ahead Eagles, against Helmond Sport.
While most are still unaware of the nature of this red card, this is just the cherry on top of a massive mound of icing on top of a colossal cake. Not a nice cake though. An awful cake. A turd cake.
The 19-year-old was recently sent back, yes, that’s right SENT BACK from his loan spell with Oxford United despite two goals in six League One appearances and it was heavily insinuated that it was his off-the-pitch attitude which led to the decision.
That’s the issue, bar this friendly incident while on loan with the Go Ahead Eagles, on the pitch, Crowley is reasonably well behaved. During his whole career, loan, youth or otherwise, he’s only picked up 11 yellow cards and one red.
No, it’s the off-field antics which appear to be a real struggle for the England youth international to wrestle under control.
While no one’s entirely sure what these involve and I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess, it’s an ongoing issue and one which needs to be nipped in the bud or Arsenal may force him to leave sooner than he wants.
This leads me to the title of this column: Should Arsenal show zero tolerance towards bad attitudes?
I don’t just mean this in the case of Crowley who seems like a bit of a loose cannon (pardon the pun) away from the football pitch. I mean on the pitch as well.
But first, let’s look at a player who had a famously bad attitude who Arsene Wenger attempted to ‘tame’ but couldn’t and ended up giving him the boot.
The striker was at Arsenal for nine years, although 2006-2007 was spent on loan at Birmingham City, 2011-2012 was spent at Sunderland and 2012-2013 was spent at Juventus.
During his time with us, he scored 47 goals in 171 appearances. This tally could have been better if he’d had more time on the pitch and less injury (fitness) woes.
If he’d just applied himself, he could have been a top striker, which is probably why Wenger held onto him for so long.
Oddly enough, during his entire time at Arsenal, Bendtner only got 11 yellow cards and one red via two yellows. So, he was pretty well-behaved.
Off the pitch, however, was a different story.
Getting caught stumbling out of nightclubs with his trousers down – quickly literally, drink driving, Paddy Power underwear, weird comments about being the best, rubbing his genitals on cars… need I say more?
When a player insights controversy off the pitch, it can impede or overshadow what they do on it and I’m willing to bet that a lot of the time Bendtner wasn’t played was as part of a punishment. Wenger trying to teach him a lesson and hone his focus.
It wasn’t enough though and we eventually sold the ‘Lord’ to Bundesliga club, Wolfsburg, who then terminated his contract when he arrived completely unfit and then proceeded to turn up late all the time.
Now, Bendtner players for Nottingham Forest. He’s scored two Championship goals and assisted the same amount in 13 appearances.
What could have been though?
This is what Crowley needs to realise. If he doesn’t sort his off-the-pitch affairs out, they’re going to impact what he does on it and it could cost him his future if he carries on.
Attitude overall is such a massive element of football. As I said earlier, attitude on it, ie applying yourself and putting a shift in, even if you’re not feeling up to it or you’re losing, is massive.
Just look at Alexis Sanchez. He never stops working and has an attitude most managers must envy Wenger for and he’s one of the best forwards in Europe right now.
Hard work, a strong work ethic and positive attitude are all mental aspects of the game, which many forget.
I hope Crowley remembers this soon.