Liverpool U18s coach Neil Critchley will take over as manager of the U23s next season, following Steven Gerrard’s academy promotion.
With Gerrard taking the role of U18s coach from 2017/18, as confirmed on Thursday, the Reds’ youth ranks were due a shakeup, accommodating the latest addition to their staff.
And following Michael Beale’s departure to Sao Paulo at the beginning of the year, Critchley has been selected as his long-term successor.
Critchley’s promotion will see current incumbent Mike Garrity resume his duties as U23s assistant, providing the young Reds with a great foundation to build.
Speaking ahead of Critchley’s move up the ranks, Gerrard advocated the 38-year-old’s new role, and said he would be hoping to emulate his success.
“Neil has done a fantastic job with the U18s, so I hope I can continue where he left off,” he said.
“Encouraging and nurturing players into the U23s and eventually the first-team setup.
“I have really enjoyed my time at the Academy so far and feel I have learnt a lot from the coaching staff here already.
“After speaking to Alex [Inglethorpe], we feel as though it is time for me to step up and manage my own team.”
Critchley has been with the club since 2013, having previously held a role as academy director at Crewe Alexandra, where he had served for six years.
Prior to his coaching career, Critchley was a midfielder, but made just one appearance for Crewe, a 3-0 loss to Fulham in 1999/00—his only senior professional outing.
He was one of the first 16 people to be handpicked for UEFA’s elite coaching badge, ensuring he is one of the most highly qualified coaches in Europe.
“There are super clubs and you have to put Liverpool into that category,” he said last year.
“It’s an unbelievable place to work, it gives you a special feeling when you come in through the gates in the morning and it gives you immense pride to work here on a daily basis.”
Critchley has coached the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn through from U18s level, and now will help nurture Conor Masterson, Yan Dhanda and Rhian Brewster among others next season.