Home » Charlie Crew Is the Latest in a Long Line of Leeds United Players to Represent Cymru

Charlie Crew Is the Latest in a Long Line of Leeds United Players to Represent Cymru

The upcoming 2024 UEFA European Championships will be a tough watch for Welsh football fans after Rob Page’s Dragons narrowly failed to reach the finals, losing in a penalty shootout against Poland in the playoffs at the end of March. Matters are not helped by the best online sports betting sites listing arch-rivals England as the favorite to lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy in Germany come July 14. However, the future is bright for Cymru, with several youngsters stepping up to the national team. Leeds United 17-year-old midfielder Charlie Crew is the latest off the production line.

Leeds United has a strong connection with the Welsh national team. Some 35 players played club football for the Yorkshire outfit and represented Wales on the international stage. The legendary John Charles is the most famous of the Welsh players who have turned out for Leeds, but Terry Yorath, Keith Edwards, Vinny Jones, and the late Gary Speed are not bad either.

Leeds’ Welsh connection grew stronger last season. Leeds had four Welshmen on the field at several stages of the Championship season. Connor Roberts joined on loan from Burnley, Joe Rodon was on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, Daniel James enjoyed the most productive season of his career, and Ethan Ampadu was named Leeds’ captain. There could have been five Welsh players on the pitch, but head coach Daniel Farke decided to keep his powder dry and keep young Charlie Crew as an unused substitute in three matches.

Who Is Charlie Crew?

Crew was born in Cardiff in June 2006, so it was only fitting he started his journey toward becoming a professional footballer with Cardiff City. Crew was part of the Cardiff City academy from seven until 15, when he joined Leeds United for an undisclosed fee. 

He started at Leeds in the under-18s and was instrumental in guiding them to the FA Youth Cup Final in 2023-24. Crew stepped up to the under-21s and was called up to the first team in late March 2024 for the game against Watford.

Crew has represented and captained Cymru at the U15, U16, U17, U19, and U21 levels. Rob Page called Crew up for the full national team for the upcoming friendlies against Gibraltar (June 6) and Slovakia (June 9) after under-21s boss Matty Jones, another former Leeds player, recommended Crew’s selection. Should Crew continue impressing, he could remain in the squad for Wales’ UEFA Nations B matches starting in early September.

Rumors circulated in 2023 that Gareth Southgate inquired about Crew choosing to play for England, but Crew’s heart was always set on representing Wales.

Two of Leeds’ senior players, Crysencio Summerville and Crew’s fellow teenager Archie Gray, single Crew out for praise at the recent end-of-season awards ceremony. Summerville said, “We have trained with Charlie Crew. I think he is a really good midfielder. So yeah, people, look out for him. He’s a really good player.”

Although only 18 years old, Gray became a Leeds first-team regular last season, making 52 appearances in all competitions. When reporters quizzed Gray about which current crop of Leeds United youngsters excites him the most, he sang Crew’s praises.

“There are loads. Charlie Crew has been training with us for a few weeks, and he’s a really good player. My brother, as well, he’s obviously really good. I don’t want to give him too much praise because he’s my brother, and I shouldn’t be doing that! So, I’d go with Charlie Crew.”

Crew is the Latest in a New Generation of Welsh Talent

The future is bright for Cymru, and hopes are high for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification and beyond. Crew is a highly exciting prospect who should break into Leeds United’s first team during the 2024/25 campaign. Although the previously mentioned Connor Roberts and Joe Rodon have left the Elland Road team and returned to their respective parent clubs, both will have benefitted from Leeds’ promotion-chasing endeavors.

Two Leeds United men have become indispensable for the Yorkshire club, benefiting the national side again. Dan James, who missed the faithful penalty against Poland in March, scored 13 goals and had six assists in 40 Championship games last season. Ethan Ampadu, although purchased by Leeds to operate in midfield, was part of a rock-solid defense and wore the captain’s armband throughout the season. Ampadu has 51 caps despite only being 23.

Brennan Johnson has improved with every game since his £47.5 million transfer from Nottingham Forest to Tottenham Hotspur. Johnson’s gaining valuable Premier League experience and brushing shoulders with Europe’s elite can only be positive for Page and his squad.

Then you have other talented young players attempting to force their way into Page’s plans, including Nico Williams (23), Jordan James (19), Charlie Savage (21), Lewis Koumas (18), and another former Leeds man, Niall Huggins (23).

Long gone are the days of Ryan Giggs setting off on a blistering run down the wing, and Wales fans are only just getting used to not seeing Gareth Bale pulling on the famous red shirt, but there is an excellent crop of talent waiting in the wings, waiting to take their chance with both hands. 

Will Crew and Other Youngester Get an Opportunity in the Upcoming Friendlies

Page has likely selected Crew and the other uncapped youngsters, Fin Stevens and Lewis Koumas, to give them the experience of training with the first team. That said, it is possible one or more of them may feature in at least one of the friendly matches, probably the first one against Gibraltar.

With no disrespect to Gibraltar, they are ranked 203rd from 2011 countries, some 174 places below Wales. Wales ran out 4-0 winners in October 2023, the only time these two sides have met. Ben Davies opened the scoring midway through the first half, and Kiefer Moore netted a brace, with Moore’s goals sandwiched between a Nathan Broadhead strike. If there is ever a time to blood some fresh talent, it is on June 6 against Gibraltar.