A key Blackpool player committed their long-term future to the club this week, and Neil Critchley revealed why the Tangerines chose to extend his stay.
Neil Critchley believes that Olly Casey’s new deal is the personification of what Blackpool are all about as he continues to shape them in his image.
It was announced earlier this week that Casey signed a new contract that would keep him at Bloomfield Road until at least the end of the 2025/26 season. The Tangerines also have an option of a further 12 months, and the move offers the defender some stability with no worry about his long-term future away from the club.
Casey came through the academy at Leeds United, and made three senior appearances for the Whites, before being bought for an undisclosed fee in 2021. He had a brief taste of the Championship but it was at Forest Green Rovers last year that he had his first proper taste of men’s football, and played almost a full season but suffered relegation.
It is the hard school of knocks for Casey that has helped forge a career now at Blackpool. The experiences of relegation last year, as well as the much-appreciated patience, has now paid off as he’s become ever so important to the team this year.
“He’s done very well, he’s been brilliant to be fair,” started Critchley.
“As a club that is what we want to be, which is giving young players an opportunity to come and develop, get in the team and progress and then reward them. Olly has had to be patient and has had to work very hard.”
Critchley has adopted the same approach to Casey as he did to the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Caoimhin Kelleher, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott during his time at Liverpool. He was the under-18’s manager and then the under-23’s boss, and he helped forge careers as well as Neco Williams and Sepp van den Berg who have gone on to play in the Premier League and the Bundesliga.
He said: “I say to all the young players between the ages of 18 to 22 or 23, that you need psychological stamina. It’s very rare that you have continuous ups. He came in he had to be patient and he had to go out on loan and he had to wait for his opportunity at the start of the season.
“He’s got in and he’s taken that. It’s a reward for his perseverance and his ability and him as a person. As a football club that’s who we want to be to help those young players come in, give them an opportunity, help them to develop and then reward them.”