Neil Critchley has been confirmed as leaving Liverpool as the club’s Under-23 manager to join League One side Blackpool – but ex-Reds midfielder David Thompson reckons Critchley is making a mistake in leaving Anfield.
Critchley, 41, joined Liverpool’s Under-18 coaching staff back in 2013 and has since worked as the club’s Under-18 manager and then Under-23 manager. This season, his stock has cracked the ceiling after taking charge of two senior matches.
Indeed, Jurgen Klopp has allowed Critchley to take charge of the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa and an FA CUp replay against Shrewsbury Town. The latter saw Critchley guide his Under-23’s to a 1-0 win.
Highly-esteemed among the Liverpool supporters, Critchley has now opted to begin his career in senior management by taking over from caretaker David Dunn at Blackpool. He has signed a contract until 2023, but Thompson thinks it is a mistake.
Sad to hear Neil Critchley has left his post as @LFC under 23 coach a fantastic youth coach and will be difficult to replace.
Personally I feel he is making a mistake but understand he wants to try to become a successful manager in league football. Good luck
— David Thompson (@77thomo) March 2, 2020
TBR’s view – Can Critchley make the adjustment from youth to senior?
It is a big step to take as youth coach, rising into the senior ranks. But Critchley has worked under the best in Jurgen Klopp, taking on his style and tactics with the Under-23 side mirroring the flair and ethos of the first team at Anfield.
Sitting in 13th place, Blackpool’s chances of achieving a place in the League One play-off positions look as good as over. It gives Critchley a few months to try a few different things, before having a real crack next term.
He will have ex-Liverpool midfielder Spearing at his disposal, and it will be up to Critchley to cope with the demand of moving from youth to senior. If he can do that, then he has a chance of becoming successful.