Blackpool FC: Neil Critchley praises 'assured' debutant as he reflects on EFL Trophy victory over Liverpool U21s

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Will Squires was handed his Blackpool debut in the victory over Liverpool U21s in the EFL Trophy group stages.

Seasiders boss Neil Critchley has been impressed by the development of the young defender.

Squires played the full 90 minutes in the 5-2 win at Bloomfield Road.

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"It was always the plan for him to make his debut,” Critchley explained.

Neil Critchley (Photographer Alex Dodd/CameraSport)Neil Critchley (Photographer Alex Dodd/CameraSport)
Neil Critchley (Photographer Alex Dodd/CameraSport)

"He’s been out on loan at Bamber Bridge and done really well. The reports back from there were positive.

"We brought him back to play in this game and I thought it was a really assured performance from him- he showed a good temperament on the pitch.

"It’s always a proud moment and he deserved that. I remember him from my first time here.

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"He was always a late developer and had more to come physically.

"He’s definitely grown in size and stature. He’s been out on loan and encountered men’s football, which he’s benefitted from, and it was a step forward for him again against Liverpool.”

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Kylian Kouassi claimed a hat-trick off the bench for the Seasiders, while Albie Morgan and Andy Lyons were also on the scoresheet.

The fixture provided a number of players the opportunity to pick up some game time.

"It was minutes on the pitch,” Critchley added.

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"We played Preston recently and they had minutes there. A lot of time and effort goes into doing what’s right for each player because you know over the course of the season you need those players- it’s not just about the first 11.

"Some of the players involved would’ve certainly benefited from 90 minutes.

"There were plenty of goals and plenty of chances. We made hard work of it at times, but those games are so difficult because you are expected to win and we made 11 changes.

"It was a completely new team and I think that showed at times.

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“I can’t fault the players’ attitude and the way they approached the game.

"Our execution and quality let us down badly in the first half; otherwise we would’ve scored quite a few goals in promising situations.

"I have to give credit to Liverpool as well- I thought they were excellent.

"It was much-needed minutes for some players and hopefully no injuries.”