Gerrard appoints Blackpool manager Critchley as Aston Villa assistant

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard appoints Blackpool manager Neil Critchley as his new assistant after Michael Beale left to join QPR… with the pair previously working together at Liverpool’s academy

  • Steven Gerrard has made some changes to his backroom staff at Aston Villa  
  • His assistant boss Michael Beale was appointed as the new manager of QPR  
  • Gerrard has brought in Neil Critchley, who leaves his position as Blackpool boss 

Aston Villa have appointed Neil Critchley as Steven Gerrard’s assistant manager.

Critchley’s appointment at Villa Park leaves Championship side Blackpool looking for a new manager.

The 43-year-old, who guided the Seasiders to League One promotion in 2020/21, knows Gerrard from his time working at Liverpool’s academy where he coached the under-18s and under-23s.

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has appointed Blackpool boss Neil Critchley (R) as his new assistant manager

Critchley replaces Michael Beale (R) who has left his No 2 role to become QPR’s next manager

He will replace Michael Beale, who leaves to take up the position as QPR’s new manager.

Critchley was a huge success at Bloomfield Road following his March 2020 appointment, guiding the club back to the Championship via the play-offs in his first season in charge before consolidating their position in the second tier.

Blackpool owner Simon Sadler said he was ‘disappointed’ by Critchley’s exit. 

He said on the club website: ‘Neil has been a consummate professional ever since arriving at Blackpool and really bought into what this club and town are all about. 

‘He has built up strong relationships with the staff, players and supporters and made some special memories for us all.

Critchley worked with Gerrard when the pair of them worked in the Liverpool academy

‘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.’

Prior to his stint with Blackpool he shone with Liverpool’s youth sides, notably standing in as first team boss when Jurgen Klopp took his senior team to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup, leaving Critchley’s youthful outfit to try their luck in the Carabao Cup in 2019.

Unfortunately they were beaten 5-0, but he and his players were given huge credit for their effort and bravery. Critchley stood in again when Liverpool played Shrewsbury months later, when the Reds were on a mid-season break, and they pulled off a 1-0 win.

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