‘Hard decision’ - Teen reveals thoughts on Leeds United academy transfer and end to ‘aggressive’ pursuit

Teenage Leeds United midfielder Charlie Crew is no longer the subject of an international tug-of-war between England and Wales, according to Welsh U21s boss Matty Jones.

The deep-lying Leeds U21s midfielder has skippered Wales' Under-17 and Under-19 sides this year and appears now to have cemented himself in the Under-21 setup at youth international level with his latest call-up to the group this month.

“I think it’s ended," Jones said, discussing England's 'aggressive' pursuit of the Leeds youngster. “Through the conversations we’ve had with Charlie, we knew the action plan that we had with him, and he supported that in regard to him spending time with the Under-19s, and he dominated with his performances.

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“He knew he would always get rewarded with that because we’ve made a pathway for Charlie, and we believe in his abilities. Having that dialogue with him and his family has hopefully supported him to make the right decision," Jones added, as quoted by WalesOnline.

Jones, an ex-Leeds midfielder himself between 1997 and 2000, had previously confirmed England's intention to persuade Crew into switching his international allegiances, but the Welsh-born youngster who joined United last summer from Cardiff City's academy looks set to stay put.

Discussing that transfer while still just 16 years of age, Crew said: "Moving away from family, moving to a club where you don't know anyone, you have to mature pretty quickly.

"And it's helped me moving up age groups, it's helped me integrate a lot better and settle in more quickly than if I was still at home and in a comfortable place."

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Crew has featured prominently for the Under-21 side at Thorp Arch this season and is considered an important player for the group which this week lost highly-rated head coach Michael Skubala to Lincoln City. "It was a very hard decision [to move]," Crew added, on his Bluebirds switch. "But it was one me and my family felt we had to have time to discuss and make a family decision on. We went back and forth, should we go or should we stay, in the end we just took the jump, took the risk and, in my opinion, it's paying off at the moment."

Crew has made eight appearances in Premier League 2 this season, as well as a handful of outings in the Premier League International Cup and Premier League Cup, the former functioning as a competition which tests British youngsters against their continental peers in an invitational group stage format.

This year has proven to be a red-letter 12 months for the 17-year-old Welsh youth international, having signed professional terms at Leeds, which Crew describes as an 'amazing achievement' and leading Wales to their maiden Under-17 European Championships as team captain - a tournament at which he excelled individually despite the team's collective shortcomings.

Crew's Leeds deal expires in the summer of 2025, which was the maximum duration the club were able to offer due to the youngster's age, although it is likely United will look to extend his stay in the interim should he continue on his current trajectory.