Liverpool's Neil Critchley officially unveiled as Blackpool's new head coach - video

Neil Critchley has officially been unveiled as Blackpool’s new head coach.

By Matt Scrafton
Monday, 2nd March 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 5:09 pm

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The 41-year-old took part in a press conference this afternoon alongside chief executive Ben Mansford having signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season.

Critchley, who leaves his role as Liverpool’s Under-23 coach, spoke of his pride at taking what is his first senior job in management.

“It’s a really special feeling,” he told The Gazette.

“To come to a football club like this and to be given an opportunity to be head coach is really special.

“It’s something I’ve prepared and worked for for a very long time and I’m looking forward to the future.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the players and the staff and getting on the grass and getting to work straight away to develop a team we can all be proud of.”

Neil Critchley was presented to the press today

When asked if it took him long to make a decision, Critchley added: “I knew what I wanted and I got the right feeling from the conversations I had.

“I’ve come from a very special football club which was built on good people and I wouldn’t have left unless I thought it was something special I was going to.

“The feeling I got from the people in the room was one of excitement. These are good people and I want to be part of it.

“You go on feelings, I go on instinct, and it felt right so I’m delighted to be here.”

Neil Critchley was presented to the press today

This will be Critchley’s first role as a number one having coached Liverpool’s Under-23s since the summer of 2017.

He had previously been in charge of the Under 18s at Anfield for four years.

Critchley has even taken charge of Liverpool’s first-team on two occasions this season in the absence of Jurgen Klopp.

The first instance saw Aston Villa beat a youthful Liverpool side in the Carabao Cup in December while the first-team squad was away in Qatar for the Club World Club.

Critchley took part in a press conference alongside chief executive Ben Mansford

Then, last month, he oversaw a 1-0 victory against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup to set up a fifth-round tie with Chelsea.

Critchley has been credited with overseeing the progression of the likes of Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams, who have all tasted first-team action this season.

Critchley, who is regarded as one of the top coaches in Europe, is just one of 16 coaches in the country to have gained the highest possible qualification in the game.

This comes after he was hand-picked by the FA to take UEFA’s first elite badge course.

It is that level of quality that left the Seasiders so impressed according to chief executive Ben Mansford.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted (to get our man), it’s a real pleasure to have him here.

Critchley has signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season

“We really see ourselves as a modern, community-based football club and we wanted a modern coach with excellent credentials and a proven track record.

“Neil has articulated that very well about improving individuals but ultimately as part of a team structure and the team is paramount.

“I think that’s really important, because we want Neil to go on now and work with us to create that philosophy that will transcend the club.

“I’m looking forward to the start of our journey together.”