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Neil Critchley leaves Blackpool to become new Aston Villa assistant boss

Steven Gerrard expressed delight at landing No.1 target Neil Critchley as his new assistant at Villa.

Neil Critchley the head coach / manager of Liverpool U21 checks his watch.
Neil Critchley the head coach / manager of Liverpool U21 checks his watch.

Critchley yesterday left his job as manager of Blackpool to join Gerrard’s backroom team, replacing the departed Michael Beale. Villa moved quickly for the 43-year-old after it became clear earlier this week Beale would accept the offer to become QPR's new boss.

Critchley worked with Gerrard in Liverpool’s academy and managed the club’s under-23s before taking his first job in senior managerial post with Blackpool in 2020. He guided the Seasiders to promotion from League One in his first season, while they finished 16th in the recently concluded Championship campaign.

Gerrard said: “Neil was my No.1 choice when looking for a new assistant. He is a fantastic coach with whom I have worked before and I know his qualities.”

Critchley twice took caretaker charge of the Liverpool first XI during his time at Anfield. The first occasion was a 5-0 League Cup quarter-final defeat at Villa in December, 2019, when the Reds fielded a youthful team due to a fixture clash with the World Club Cup final.

Blackpool owner Simon Sadler said: “Naturally, we are disappointed to lose Neil, but thank him for all that he has achieved during his time at Bloomfield Road and wish him well in the Premier League with Aston Villa.

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