Liverpool Under-23 coach Neil Critchley has left Anfield to take up the managerial position at League One side Blackpool.
Critchley has found himself thrust into the spotlight this season with Liverpool opting to field understrength line-ups for two first-team fixtures.
The 41-year-old took charge of a youthful side for the Carabao Cup tie at Aston Villa in December – a game that ended in a 5-0 defeat – with the first-team squad away for the FIFA Club World Cup and then stood up again when Liverpool met Shrewsbury Town in an FA Cup fourth-round replay during the winter break.
Liverpool academy director Alex Inglethorpe told the club’s official website: “It’s a bittersweet day in many respects.
“Obviously losing a person and professional of Neil’s calibre is something that is a disappointment, but at the same time we have great excitement and joy that he has been given this wonderful opportunity.
“We see this as a reflection on the Academy as a whole, that it’s an environment where players and coaches have a pathway to progression and self-improvement.
“Blackpool want Neil because of the work he’s done at Liverpool and it shows to everyone within our system that if you work hard and work smart then rewards are there.
“Neil epitomises the best qualities of a modern coach: leadership skills, intelligence, compassion and a hunger for individual and collective improvement. Blackpool are very fortunate to have him and we wish him well.”
Critchley replaces Simon Grayson at Bloomfield Road with Blackpool 13th in League One.
He has signed a contract that runs until the end of the 2022-23 season and club owner Simon Sadler was delighted to have got his man.
He said: “I would like to welcome Neil as he joins us on our journey and thank Liverpool for the way they have handled our approach.
“The fact that we’ve been able to attract a coach of Neil’s calibre is testament to how this club
is now viewed and is a result of the work that has been done here over recent months.”
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