City under-23s defender Crowe announced as a permanent signing for Linfield

Joe Crowe in action for Norwich City U23s against Bournemouth at Carrow Road last week. Picture: Nic

Joe Crowe in action for Norwich City U23s against Bournemouth at Carrow Road last week. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Linfield have announced the permanent signing of Norwich City youngster Joe Crowe.

The tough tackling 19-year-old started two matches for City's U23s last week, a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at Carrow Road and a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn, in which he was sent off after picking up a second yellow card late in the game.

However, the Northern Irish Premier Division champions, managed by former Canaries striker David Healy, have announced they have signed Crowe on a contract until 2020.

The Northern Ireland Under-19 international was out of contract in the City, although the club did have a 12-month option they could activate, and spent time on loan at League of Ireland club last year. Crowe made 11 appearances for Limerick between July and November as he got his first taste of senior football.

Norwich are yet to confirm the deal, for a player who has played in central defence and as a defensive midfielder for their U23s, and who has previously been called up to the Northern Ireland U21 squad.

Legendary Northern Ireland striker Healy, who scored twice for City in 13 games during two loan spells from Preston in 2003, has confirmed the signing for the Belfast club though.

'I'm delighted to be able to advise our supporters that 19-year-old Joe Crowe has today signed a contract with the club until the end of the 2019/20 season,' Healy told his club's website.

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'Joe joins us from Norwich City, although he was on loan at Limerick from July until the end of their season in November.

'He's a versatile player who can cover several defensive positions and he's a player I know well from when I was a coach at international underage level.

'He's a local boy from Sandy Row who is very enthusiastic about joining the club and he will provide us with a bit of steel defensively.

'The signing is subject to the international clearance formalities and I'm looking forward to working with Joe in training. He's a competitive lad and he will strengthen the squad and increase competition levels.

'I know our supporters will welcome Joe to the squad and with his cross-channel and League of Ireland experience, I know he will prove to be a quality addition to our squad.'

Capped at U17 and U19 international level previously, Crowe joined City as an academy scholar in 2014 as a 16-year-old.