Liverpool close in on Crewe Alexandra academy director

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Crewe Alexandra academy director Neil Critchley is set to leave the Gresty Road club in order to join Premier League side Liverpool, according to the Crewe Chronicle.

The 34-year-old who himself graduated from the Crewe Alex academy, has been offered the role of under-18's manager.

Critchley is unlikely to turn down such an offer despite two decades with the Railwaymen as both a player and coach.

One of just 16 FA Elite Coaches in the country, Critchley is very highly-rated in the game after learning his trade under the guidance of the likes of Dario Gradi and Steve Holland.

The Crewe Alex coach is officially among the most advanced in Europe after graduating from the continent’s first ever Elite Coaches Award course.

Critchley was among just 16 from across the country to be handpicked by the FA to attend the course – the first of its kind under UEFA.

The South Cheshire club had two other young coaches selected for the course, academy director James Collins and Elite Player Performance Plan co-ordinator Michael Jolley also represented the South Cheshire club.

The qualification is equal to the UEFA Pro Licence for managers – the highest possible in the game. After 18 months of hard work the trio recently graduated, inspiring Liverpool to approach Critchley for the job.

Crewe chronicle sports editor @ThePeterMorse tweeted: "BREAKING: #CreweAlex academy director Neil Critchley looks set to join Liverpool staff. #LFC"

Critchley is expected to be announced as the U18's boss within the next few weeks, which will leave a huge void at the helm of the Crewe academy.

Fellow academy director James Collins will stay in charge of the Crewe operation, with a new face expected to be added to the coaching staff in the coming weeks.

Alex manager Steve Davis said: “It looks like Neil is moving on to Liverpool under 18s, he told me he had been approached. I imagine he is considering a fantastic offer and opportunity to go to Liverpool.

“He will be a great loss to us because he is a great lad, and a great servant to the club. He has done a brilliant job with the young players who have come through. I’ve a lot of time and respect for Neil and we all wish him well.

“It is not a negative thing, it is a real positive that one of our bright young coaches is considered by Brendan Rodgers.

“For him to get noticed by one of the top clubs in the country is of great benefit to us, it shows where the academy is.”

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