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Neil Critchley
Gender Male
Ethnic xxxx
Job xxxx Football Coach
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Affiliation

Org xxxx National Team
Club as Player Liverpool [Youth Coach]
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2018 11 26 Retrieve

[Critchley, not a man prone to exaggeration, was suitably impressed with Hoever] Unbelievable. Sixteen years old? Just… wow, really. He tired towards the end, which was understandable considering he played in the week as well. But I thought his calmness and assurance, his decision-making, his intelligence without the ball, it was terrific. Playing against a good player, I was very impressed with him indeed

[Woodburn is expected to be recalled by the Reds in January having been unable to nail down a regular spot at Bramall Lane] I don’t know about that yet. That’s for the two clubs to decide. But if that happens then I’m always delighted to have good players, and he’s a good player. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.

It was important for him to get 90 minutes here. I thought he was involved in a lot of our good play. It’s always nice to see Ben when he comes back, he’s just a good kid who mucks in with the lads, and he helps the players on the pitch. He gives good information, he talks, so we were delighted to see him and hopefully it did him good. He needs to play games and hopefully that 90 minutes benefits him

[As for Camacho, another who has been moved up to Melwood by Klopp, Critchley was impressed by the Portugal youth international’s versatility] That’s the beauty of Rafa. I spoke to him about when he was away with Portugal and he played left, he played as a nine. He’s really versatile, and he’s intelligent so you can play him in a number of positions. He becomes very useful for managers. We know we can trust him, and he’s a useful acquisition for any type of manager in any squad

I’m very pleased for the boys. We’ve had an up and down week, to say the least! To go from what we experienced on Wednesday to what we experienced today, it was a roller-coaster of emotions. But I couldn’t be more pleased with the performance, I thought from the first whistle to the last, the boys were excellent. I always knew we could compete. I saw the performances at the beginning of the season and they were good, but not backed up by the results. I say we are unfortunate to be where we are in the league, we could have been much higher. There’s not a great difference between any of the teams in the league to be honest, it’s very tight, so when the players play like they did today then we’re capable of beating anyone. I just get frustrated with them sometimes that they don’t always play to that standard

2019 09 17 Retrieve

[In 2016, though, he had Trent in his pocket, terrorising the callow young full-back in an under-21 contest between Liverpool and Man City at Anfield. City won 3-0, Brandon Barker set up two of them. Alexander-Arnold was substituted well before the final whistle] We’d played Nottingham Forest in the Youth Cup in midweek, and he was fantastic at right-back. I remember saying to him in the dressing room after that game ‘You were fantastic tonight’, and I went away feeling so positive about him. Then, the Man City game came on the Sunday, and I remember watching him warm up at Anfield, and straight away I was worried. You could always tell with Trent if his mind wasn’t quite on it. That day, he just looked tired, and that’s how he started the game. And as soon as that happened, the alarm bells were out

[Critchley, Alex Inglethorpe and other fellow coaches would do everything to test Alexander-Arnold’s resilience and character. Break him to make him, was the mantra] Myself and Alex would put him under pressure in training. We’d tell Bobby Adekanye (the former Reds winger who joined Lazio in 2019) to get at him, get at him, get at him. We knew there was a good player in there, but he needed to be tested and put under pressure. He needed to be in a hostile environment, where he would find it tough. We’d do it on purpose, we’d throw in the odd comment and try to get under his skin. But it was to help him improve

[Critchley remembers his frustrations boiling over on more than one occasion] He could be a little bit petulant sometimes. He had a real winning attitude, but he didn’t always know how to display it. He returns to that City game for the under-21s, when Barker destroyed him. His reflection after the game was very honest. I remember speaking to him here in the back room at the Academy, and I think he realised if he was going to take the next step, then he had to become more consistent. From then, I think his mindset and his mentality around training, preparation and recovery changed. He knew he had to put more focus in

2019 09 26 Retrieve

[Is Curtis Jones a future Liverpool captain?] The things that we speak to him about and the things he is exceptional at, such as running forward with and without the ball - if he does those things, then he has an impact on the game. So, when he is in full flight and he is driving towards the opponents’ goal, with and without the ball, he is a serious, serious player

[Fleetwood, of League One, were among the clubs keen to give him a taste of senior football, but Jones’ opinion is that he will, at some point, be given an opportunity by Liverpool. The Reds’ Carabao Cup third-round tie, which will see them visit League One side MK Dons, could provide that opportunity later this month] hope that our players would be looking at that draw and thinking that it is a possible opportunity for them. Obviously, the manager has numerous other players he can choose from too, but I would hope that our players would see that potential opportunity.

[Critchley believes Jones’ new contract has taken a weight off his shoulders] I think anyone, when they have no distractions and they can just concentrate on their football, I think that helps. It has definitely helped him. He seems a lot calmer about the situation. He now has a clear focus of where he wants to go and where he wants to be - and it’s our job to help him get there

2019 10 30 Retrieve

[Neco Williams set to make Liverpool debut in Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal] Neco Williams has been in and around the Under-23s last season, and he’s definitely improved his game. You know what you are going to get from him in terms of his behaviours, and being competitive all the time. I don’t worry about his temperament, he’s been a consistent performer for us for a season-and-a-bit and he’s gone up to Melwood and the first-team staff have been really pleased with him. He’s trained there and he’s stayed there, so that can only be a good thing. If he gets his opportunity, it’ll be deserved and hopefully he does himself justice

2019 12 17 Retrieve

[Stand-in boss Neil Critchley will field the youngest team in the club’s 127-year history in the Carabao Cup quarter-final] I’ll be very proud to lead the team out. It’s a great opportunity for all of us. Yeah, thanks for reminding me of that!

[Those two, plus Kelleher, Elliott and, if fit, Brewster, are on standby to fly immediately to Qatar after Tuesday’s game] There’s a flight waiting. But it might depend on how they play! The message from the staff will be to go and play like a Liverpool team. We’ll be well prepared, we know how we will approach the game. I hope they go and play how I know they can play

[We can expect a few debutants. Scotsman Tony Gallacher is likely to play at full-back, while Remi Savage, Morgan Boyes and Tom Clayton will also be in contention. Leighton Clarkson, a diminutive, ball-playing midfielder, will be in the squad, as will 16-year-old Scouser Layton Stewart, a striker who has been in fine form for Barry Lewtas’ Under-18s this season. Isaac Christie-Davies and Elijah Dixon-Bonner, midfielders recruited from Chelsea and Arsenal respectively, could feature, as could Luis Longstaff, who was on the bench against MK Dons and the high-pressing Jake Cain] They’ll be outside their comfort zone. But they need tough challenges. And whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, the team will take so much from the experience. Of course there’s excitement. One game like this is worth a million training sessions

2019 12 17b Retrieve

[The youngest side in Reds history went down 5-0 against Aston Villa in a mismatch of a quarter-final] We played like a Liverpool team

[After the final whistle, Dean Smith and his assistant John Terry went into the Liverpool dressing room to congratulate the visiting players on their performance] A special moment. One those players will always remember. The conduct of the Villa players and staff was first-class

Harvey was a constant threat. I don’t want the night to end. Even here, talking to you guys, I could stay all night!

2019 12 17c Retrieve

[Liverpool boss Critchley: Youthful Reds were ‘magnificent’ despite 5-0 loss to Aston Villa] I thought we were magnificent. We were fantastic from the start, we had a couple of chances from the first whistle. We were really unfortunate to concede and find ourselves 2-0 down. It was an incredible night and no one wanted it to end. The support we had was unbelievable. Some of them showed the potential to one day play for us, or in the Premier League. They will know it was just part of their journey. My overwhelming feeling was one of immense pride

[Aston Villa manager Dean Smith and assistant John Terry visited Liverpool’s dressing room after the game to offer the youngsters some words of encouragement] The conduct of the Villa players was first class. For Dean Smith and John Terry to come in to our dressing room after the game and say the things they said. They said, ‘keep going, good luck’ and wished us the best. The moment I will remember and the players will remember for the rest of their lives

2019 12 18 Retrieve

[Neil Critchley says Harvey Elliott was praised for being a constant threat during Liverpool’s 5-0 loss to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup] He’s not too far away because he trains with our first team on a regular basis. He’s had first-team exposure already, the manager and staff think a lot of him. I thought he was a constant threat all night, a really good outlet for us. But he was reliant on a lot of the players getting the ball to him and I thought the service to him was top class as well. I wouldn’t want to single anyone out because I thought as a collective, the whole group of players, the subs included, couldn’t have done any more. I thought we played like a Liverpool team and that was really, really important to us. We spoke about what we could control before the game, what was important to us. Good, bad or indifferent, we never quit. I don’t think you can accuse any of the Liverpool players of putting their heads down or being downhearted, they stuck at it right to the end

We had some information at half-time from the manager - basically to keep playing the way we were playing, keep being brave, keep doing what we were doing. So he was out there watching with the staff and the players and I hope, and I’m sure he will be, he is proud of the way we played

2020 01 09 Retrieve

[Critchley promptly named Curtis Jones as captain of the Under-23s] He’s already our technical leader. I’ve seen a massive difference in Curtis in the last year. He’s always had that ability but he seems a bit more mature now

2020 02 03 Retrieve

[Neil Critchley is unsure if Jurgen Klopp will have any input during Tuesday’s FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury Town] I think the manager has made it quite clear with the statement and what he said prior to the game. He gives myself, the staff, the players unbelievable support. I can speak to him whenever I like when I’m down here, he supports the young players unbelievably well - as he’s shown so far this season. So his presence, even if he isn’t there, is always felt by our younger players and by myself. I always think maybe one per cent that came into his thinking the way we played against Aston Villa, maybe thought the boys deserved an opportunity

[Critchley gave little away when asked if he will speak to Klopp on the night of the game] I don’t know, I don’t need to think about that at the moment. He did during the Aston Villa game, because he felt it was the right thing to do. We shall see, but I won’t want to divulge too much information what we are going to do before and at half-time, because I can’t guarantee that, I never know

2020 02 03b Retrieve

[Klopp to watch Liverpool’s Shrewsbury FA Cup replay on laptop] Jurgen sent through a message at half-time (against Villa), which I have to say was brilliant at that moment. Even though we were going off the pitch thinking: ‘We’ve played all right there but we’re getting beat 4-0,’ it creates that element of doubt in your mind about whether you are doing the right thing and if you need to do something different. So when you get a message from the manager saying: ‘Don’t change anything, carry on doing what you’re doing, you’ve been brilliant,’ it clears all that doubt in your mind and you can give that message to the players. The message killed every doubt and settled them right down. It helped everyone at that moment. I didn’t have my phone on me but the message came through one of the staff. That option is available tomorrow but that’s up to the manager

Another great quality of the manager is he trusts people to do their job. The best support he gives the players is he gives them an opportunity. I don’t know what more support you could wish for as a young player. I know there has been a lot spoken going into the game, but there has been total clarity around the decision and we all support the decision. We all follow him because he has earned that.

Another great quality of the manager is he trusts people to do their job. The best support he gives the players is he gives them an opportunity. I don’t know what more support you could wish for as a young player. I know there has been a lot spoken going into the game, but there has been total clarity around the decision and we all support the decision. We all follow him because he has earned that.

2020 02 04 Retrieve

[Disrespecting the FA Cup? Liverpool’s fearless U23s produced a victory that will be remembered for years] It was a release of emotion. Let’s be honest, it’ll probably never happen

[They were roared on by James Milner, who had trained with the team at Melwood on Monday] He was giving words of advice, he was getting right behind the players. He was vocal in the dressing room. He was animated. He was vocal behind me, I could hear him. He was genuinely delighted at how the boys performed and I can’t thank him enough

2020 02 05 Retrieve

[Neil Critchley has revealed the surprising role James Milner played] James Milner trained with us yesterday and asked if he could come along. He was very respectful to ask, he asked if he could come in the dressing room. Of course! He’s achieved so much in the game. He was giving words of advice to the players, he was vocal in the dressing room. I can’t thank him enough. He’s not available yet but he was certainly jumping up and down behind me, itching to get back

From the first whistle, the maturity the boys showed to play that game was remarkable. They calmed me on the sidelines. We’re the deserved winners on the night. We don’t want this to be a defining moment of their careers. We want this to be a taste to whet their appetites. They want more of it. It gives them the belief and confidence in the work they do on a daily basis that people don’t see until a night like this. The boss was in touch this afternoon with some words of wisdom. I’ve not checked my phone yet but he’s buzzing and we’ve given him a game against Chelsea

That was the message we gave the boys, play well tonight and they could get that chance and Chelsea away is a great game. We played like a Liverpool team and I am so proud of them. They’ve made a step forward. I was really pleased with how we stood up to the physicality of the game. We did things outstandingly well. It was much better than the Aston Villa game. Jurgen gives you clarity and belief. Play the Liverpool way! This is us, this is what we do, what we stand for, what we believe in and you better be ready for it. From the first minute, I think we did that

2020 02 12 Retrieve

[Liverpool youngster Neco Williams praised for ‘incredible’ display against Shrewsbury] It was a brilliant bit of play [for the goal] but that’s Neco. I thought he was incredible on the evening. He was everywhere on the pitch, he was defending, intercepting, running forward and you’d have to say he was also probably our most dangerous attacker from full-back. He had three or four shots at goal and I thought he was fantastic.

[On the goal] That was the message we said to the boys at half-time. You could say there was some luck involved in the goal but also one of our messages was we need to look in behind their defence a bit more. We told them to search the space in behind and we need to have runners to do that. It was a little bit of fortune how it happened but also I’d like to think the boys had taken on the message at half-time. We did start to look to get in behind them a bit more because when you are playing against a back five you’ve got to give those defenders something to defend and ask some questions of them, and I thought we did that much better in the second half

He plays every game the same. It wouldn’t matter if he was playing in front of 50-odd thousand at Anfield or playing for the U23s or U19s. He plays the game the same way and that’s his best quality. He has been here for a very long time and he’s had great support from his family

2020 03 02 Retrieve

[Liverpool U23s boss Critchley leaves to take Blackpool manager’s job] I am absolutely delighted. The trust and faith that has been shown in me gives me a very special feeling inside. I can’t wait to get started

The time I’ve had at Liverpool has been truly special. I’ve been incredibly well supported there from Alex Inglethorpe, the ccademy manager, and all the staff. It’s a truly special football club and it’s the people that make the football club the place that it is. It would have had to have taken something equally as special, if not more, for me to even think about leaving. But from the conversations I’ve had here, I got a really good feeling about the people, where they want the club to go and how they want it to grow

2020 06 01 Retrieve

[Under-23s manager Neil Critchley full of praise for wonderkid Elliott] Harvey Elliott may be young but holding his own physically isn’t a problem for him. He’s got a real ‘I’ll show you’ type attitude. He doesn’t get rattled easily. He picks himself up and goes again. That’s the best way to respond to a defender who is roughing you up. He’s so good in the one v one. I think he’s got a big future in the game. He couldn’t be at a better place to keep learning and continue his development, considering the senior players around him at Liverpool and playing for a manager who gives youngsters opportunities and believes in them. His mindset and mentality set him apart. He’s humble and thankful for what he’s got