Neil Critchley picks out ‘outstanding’ player as Blackpool’s ‘unsung hero’
Neil Critchley believes Grant Ward is an “unsung hero” for his Blackpool team and does a lot of work that often goes unnoticed.
While Jerry Yates has taken all of the headlines in recent weeks as a result of his goalscoring form, Ward has quietly gone about his business, delivering a number of exceptional displays.
Partnering Kenny Dougall in central midfield, the 26-year-old was on top of his game during Blackpool’s 4-1 win against Gillingham on Easter Monday.
When asked about Ward’s recent form, Critchley told The Gazette: “Wardy is like an unsung hero for our team, he does so much that you could say that goes unnoticed, but I’m glad you’ve picked him out for the contribution he’s been making.
“He’s been outstanding for us with the amount of coverage he makes all over the pitch, picking up first balls and second balls, he allows you to get a foothold in the game.
“You could say he’s used to being a winger or a number 10 but he’s been playing in central midfield for us this season and he’s just been brilliant.
“He’s a humble, great guy to have around. He’s always smiling and laughing, he’s a bit of a joker and I’m delighted for him because he’s been top drawer for us.”
Ward wasn’t the only player Critchley picked out for praise following Monday’s emphatic victory against Gillingham.
“I thought Ellis (Simms) was terrific,” Critchley added.
“His hold-up play, the way he led the line, the way he ran down the side of the centre-backs to get the ball for us…
“He grew in confidence and it was an excellent performance from Ellis. In fact, both of our front men caused problems for two good players at this level, their centre-halves.
“I was delighted with Ellis and arguably it was his best performance for us.
“It was also great to see Elliot (Embleton) get his first goal for us. I actually said to him before the game I fancied him to get a goal.
“When he’s in front of goal I expect him to score because he’s very calm and he slotted it in very well.
“It was a really good team goal though, as was the third goal, and that’s what Elliot brings, that calmness. He’s got confidence in himself on the ball and it was a lovely little finish from him.”
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