Blackpool boss Neil Critchley has no fitness fears over Tyreece John-Jules
Neil Critchley insists he is not only overly concerned with the injury record of Blackpool’s latest recruit.
Arsenal striker Tyreece John-Jules became the club’s ninth signing of the summer last week, agreeing a season-long loan switch to Bloomfield Road.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a brief spell with Lincoln City during the 2019/20 season but made only seven appearances before the pandemic halted the campaign.
His only goal came against the Seasiders in a 1-0 win at Sincil Bank in February 2020.
The England youth striker made 21 appearances during an injury-hit spell at Doncaster last season, scoring five times.
Despite John-Jules’ previous injury problems, Critchley is delighted to get his man and remains confident the forward will get plenty of game time.
“I’m really pleased,” Pool’s head coach told The Gazette. “I’ve seen him develop for a number of years at Arsenal, playing against Liverpool and playing for England’s youth teams.
“I’ve always been aware of his ability. He’s had two loans in League One, and when he was playing for Doncaster he looked a really good player – he was just hampered by injuries.
“If he stays injury-free, I think he’s ready to kick on and go again. There’s no doubting his ability, so he could be a really big player for us this season.
“I think that younger players go through these things – it’s quite common.
“I remember Danny Ballard going to Swindon and having a really bad injury. He only played two games for them but he was excellent for us last season.
“When you’re going from Under-23s to first-team football, the intensity and the demands of the game can catch their bodies out.
“Their bodies are not yet fully developed and off the back of that they can pick up injuries.
“But Tyreece has had two loans, he’s had experience of playing men’s football, he’s been training with Arsenal and he’s had a good pre-season, so the next thing for him now is to get out on the pitch, get some minutes and get moving for us.”
John-Jules has been on the books of Arsenal since the age of eight. He is yet to make his senior debut but has featured on the bench for Premier League and Europa League matches.
The forward, who will challenge Jerry Yates, Shayne Lavery and Gary Madine in attack, becomes the second Arsenal player in as many seasons to join Blackpool on loan, following in the footsteps of Ballard.
Now on loan at Millwall, Ballard enjoyed a highly successful spell at Bloomfield Road, playing a key role in the club’s promotion to the Championship.
Despite picking up the odd knock and suspension, and going off on international duty several times, the 21-year-old managed to make 30 appearances for the Seasiders.
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