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Neil Critchley took his first steps into senior management this season when he took over Blackpool following a spell with European Champions, Liverpool.
Critchley took over from Simon Grayson who was sacked following a poor run of results that has seen the Tangerines drift away from the League One play-off places. Blackpool turned to Critchley who had been working under Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool’s U23 manager and has taken charge of the first team during Liverpool’s FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury Town.
Critchley did not have much of a playing career as he turned to coaching to make his way in the football industry. He started his playing career with hometown side Crewe Alexandra but would only make one appearance before dropping into non-league and then subsequently retired from playing.
He has made an indifferent start to life in the Blackpool dugout as he started with a valuable away point at local rivals Fleetwood Town which was followed up by a poor home defeat to relegation threatened Tranmere Rovers.
Despite his spell with Liverpool, Critchley is still relatively unknown in the industry, so here are TWO facts about the new Blackpool boss that you might not know…
Early coaching career
As mentioned previously, Critchley’s playing career never took off with the Blackpool boss turning to coaching to forge his way into the game. He was still a fresh-faced teenager when he was given his first coaching role with former side Crewe where he would go on to become the club’s academy director. The Railwaymen had an impressive stream of academy graduates making their way into the Alex first team under Critchley, which would catch the attention of Liverpool.
He would spend six years with Liverpool before taking up the role with Blackpool.
Critchley is only one of 16 coaches in the country to have attained the highest possible coaching qualification in the game. This was one of the main reasons that he was recruited by both Liverpool and Blackpool with Critchley having a very good reputation amongst players for being an outstanding coach.
He has worked with some of the most promising youngsters in the country during his time with Liverpool, the likes of Rhian Brewster, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones are just three players to have had their progression boosted whilst working under Critchley.
Blackpool will be hoping that he can offer the same pace of development for some of their young stars as they look to make a push for the play-offs next season.