Born in March 1996, the Dublin native came through the ranks at Crumlin United and after catching the eye of Liverpool scouts, he moved to Merseyside as a 15-year-old in January 2012.
After starting off with the Reds U16 squad, he was promoted to the U18 squad for the 2012/13 season and his progress over the next two years was recognised when Brendan Rogers named him in the squad for a 2015 pre-season tour of Australia and the Far East.
Cleary travelled to Bangkok, Brisbane and Adelaide but the final leg of the tour in Kuala Lumpur proved to be a memorable one as came off the bench in front of 60,000 people to replace Nathaniel Clyne and make his Liverpool debut.
He made one appearance for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool first team, coming off the bench in front of 60,000 fans on a tour of Malaysia in July 2015, and two months later, he was an unused substitute in the Reds’ UEFA Europa League tie against Bordeaux in France.
His time at Anfield, however, came to an end in June 2016 when the club confirmed that Cleary had been released and he signed a one-year deal with Birmingham City. He spent 18 months in the English midlands, going on loan to non-league side Solihull Moors, before deciding to come back to Ireland in 2018.
After a brief trial with Shamrock Rovers, Cleary accepted Stephen Kenny’s invitation to join Dundalk and after making his debut with a classy display against Rovers in Tallaght in March 2018, he has gone on to win two SSE Airtricity League titles, two FAI Cups and a League Cup winners medal with the club as well as helping them to the group stages of the UEFA Europa League in 2020, scoring in the playoff win over KI Klaksvik at the Dublin Arena.
Tall and technically strong on the ball, Dan captained the Republic of Ireland’s U17 team at the European Championships in May 2013 and has also been capped at U15, U17, U19 and U21 level.