LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 4, 2020: Liverpool's Under-23 manager Neil Critchley during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Coach who quit job to join Steven Gerrard’s staff rehired after 11 months

Ex-Liverpool academy coach Neil Critchley has rejoined the club he quit to join Steven Gerrard, just 11 months ago.

Liverpool’s former under-23 manager left Blackpool last June to join Gerrard on Aston Villa‘s coaching staff.

He only lasted until 12 games at Villa Park, though, and became manager of QPR in December.

His time at Loftus Road was a short one also, with Critchley being sacked after just 71 days in the job.

Now, he is back up north in the role of head coach at Blackpool, re-signing for the Seasiders on a four-year deal.

If he were to continue at his current rate of three clubs per season, he will have been at 12 more by the time those four years have expired!

Critchley will hope this job is a successful one, though, as he returns to Bloomfield Road almost one year on from his departure.

The manager guided Blackpool to promotion to the Championship in 2021 but, in his absence, the team were relegated back to League One this season.

They finished the campaign in the second division with just 44 points from 46 matches, so Critchley has a rebuilding job on his hands to take them back up the Football League.

Blackpool’s owner, Simon Sadler said of his new head coach: “He gained promotion with us, kept us in the Championship in our first season back in the division and has an impressive record when it comes to developing players.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 4, 2020: Liverpool's Curtis Jones (C) and Leighton Clarkson (R) celebrate with Under-23 manager Neil Critchley (L) after the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He was the clear front-runner for the position and I hope everyone gets behind him and the squad as we push to get back into the Championship.”

Critchley initially got the Blackpool job in 2020 after a successful time in charge of Liverpool’s under-23s.

During that period, he twice filled in for Jurgen Klopp for senior fixtures, leading youthful sides into clashes with Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup and Shrewsbury in the FA Cup.