Blackpool boss Neil Critchley has hailed summer signing Oliver Casey’s “great education and upbringing at Leeds United” after his move to Bloomfield Road was confirmed yesterday.
The 20-year-old’s move across the Pennines from Elland Road to the North West has looked in the pipeline for some time now, with the fee undisclosed but expected to be below £1 million.
The Seasiders announced yesterday that Casey had joined the club on a permanent deal, signing a three-year contract with the option of a further year and becoming the Championship new boys’ fifth new arrival of the summer.
Ahead of the deal, it was highlighted that Critchley was the driving force behind the move and the Blackpool boss has been full of praise of the defender’s former club in discussing his latest signing.
Speaking to the club website, Critchley hailed the Whites for Casey’s development up to this point.
He said: “Olly is a defender with a very good pedigree and is someone we feel will bring real competition to the squad.
“At just 20 years of age, he is a player who has his best years ahead of him. He has had a great education and upbringing at Leeds United, and is someone who we feel will fit in well within the environment we are building here.
“We are looking forward to working with him and helping him develop his game further over the coming years.
The Leeds-born defender is a product of the Whites academy but despite being handed his debut by Marcelo Bielsa in the 2019/20 Championship season, featured just three times for the senior side.
Despite having penned a new contract last July, it is no surprise to see him seek regular football elsewhere with the likes of Liam Cooper, Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, Pascal Struijk, and Charlie Cresswell ahead of him in the pecking order.
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Having worked with Liverpool’s academy for a long period, Critchley knows first-hand just how much work goes into a young player’s development and it’s good to see him praising the Whites youth system and staff.
The signing of Casey looks as though it could be a real masterstroke for the Seasiders, though given his lack of experience at senior level a little bit of patience may be needed.
It shocked me a little when the original links between the 20-year-old and Blackpool emerged, so the fact that they’ve got it over the line is a huge credit to them and the defender’s determination for regular opportunities.