Liverpool Under-18s coach hails Brendan Rodgers' influence

Brendan Rodgers: Lured Neil Critchley away from Crewe

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New Liverpool Under-18s coach Neil Critchley admits Brendan Rodgers' influence played a huge part in his decision to join the club from Crewe.

Rodgers lured Critchley to Anfield in the summer as he looks to revamp the club's youth set-up and help develop more homegrown youngsters.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has given youth its chance at Anfield since taking over in the summer of 2012 having handed debuts to the likes of Jordon Ibe, Andre Wisdom, Adam Morgan, Jerome Sinclair and Conor Coady.

Critchley is confident that Rodgers' faith in the youth will help in his challenge to help develop players for the first-team.

"I had been at Crewe all my life and I had no aspirations to leave because I had a really good job," Critchley told the Liverpool Echo.

"But when Liverpool comes calling it's very flattering. Alex Inglethorpe (under-21s coach) approached me initially and then I met with the manager. I didn't know either of them before.

"The fact that Brendan played a part in me coming here was a massive pull. I think it makes a real statement that Liverpool are willing to give someone like me an opportunity."

Neil Critchley

"The fact that Brendan played a part in me coming here was a massive pull. I think it makes a real statement that Liverpool are willing to give someone like me an opportunity.

"I'm not an ex-Liverpool player, I'm not a name, I've got no international caps, but I do have years of coaching experience.

"When I first arrived Brendan invited me down to Melwood and I spent a few days watching training. To be alongside him, Colin Pascoe, Mike Marsh and John Achterberg was a great bedding in period for me.

"Brendan takes a massive interest in the Academy.

"He was here last week and knows all the players. He has great belief in the youth system and that gives us a better chance than most of getting players through.

"I'm loving being here and the boys have been very receptive to the work. The under-18s are a talented group but they're not the finished article. It's my job to work with them on and off the training pitch to educate and guide them, and make them the best they can be."