Aston Villa have confirmed the arrival of Neil Critchley as their new assistant manager, the former Liverpool coach leaving the Blackpool dugout.
The 43-year-old earned his stripes at Anfield, spending almost seven years as a coach in the youth ranks. Following a spell with the Reds’ Under-18s, he oversaw the club’s UEFA Youth League progress.
He took charge of Liverpool’s Under-23s team in 2017 and he subsequently managed two first-team matches in the 2019/20 season.
That made Blackpool come calling and Critchley moved to the then-League one side in March 2020. In his first full season, he got the side promoted to the Championship.
However, he has cut short his spell on the Lancashire coast to move to the West Midlands with Villa.
Critchley worked with Villa boss Steven Gerrard at Liverpool when the ex-midfielder was also starting out on his coaching career.
Gerrard told Villa’s official club website: “Neil Critchley was my number one choice when looking for a new assistant head coach.
“He is a fantastic coach who I have obviously worked with before and know his qualities. We look forward to welcoming him to Aston Villa.”
Critchley arrives following the departure of former Villa assistant Michael Beale. Beale has taken up his first manager role, at Queens Park Rangers.
Blackpool owner Simon Sadler hailed Critchley as a “consummate professional”.
Blackpool laud Critchley amid Aston Villa move
“He has built up strong relationships with the staff, players and supporters and made some special memories for us all,” Sadler added.
“Naturally, we are disappointed to lose him 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.
“Our primary focus now turns to succession planning and making the best possible appointment to continue taking this great Club of ours forward.”
While Villa needed to respond to Beale’s exit by bringing in another assistant coach, Critchley’s arrival is nevertheless an exciting move.
Villa continue busy summer
The coach is the fourth big move of the summer so far for Gerrard’s side.
They got the transfer window off to a flyer by announcing a long-term deal for Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho.
Midfielder Boubacar Kamara and defender Diego Carlos have subsequently arrived. Villa raided Marseille and Sevilla for the highly-rated duo.
Villa have been one of the busiest teams early on in this summer’s transfer window.
Having bolstered their team, they will now hope Critchley can offer an exciting take on coaching alongside Gerrard.