The ‘gold dust’ former Everton & Ipswich Town man that is Neil Critchley’s dream at Blackpool

Callum Connolly has been earned praise from his manager. (Photographer Andrew Kearns/CameraSport)
Callum Connolly has been earned praise from his manager. (Photographer Andrew Kearns/CameraSport)

Neil Critchley has hailed Callum Connolly for his versatility as he admits his best position for Blackpool is still yet unknown.

The 25-year-old is somewhat of a utility man, and his versatility has been handy to the various managers who have played him in different positions during his time at Bloomfield Road.

He has mainly been deployed as a left-sided wing-back in League One so far - but also featured at centre-back in the EFL Trophy and Carabao Cup matches, in which he was captain on two occasions.

Critchley said: “I think we’re searching in certain areas of the pitch for the right balance, the right formula, and the right combinations between players. What I do know with Callum is you can trust him wherever he plays.

“He’s absolute gold dust to get any manager would say about Callum Connolly about his reliability, his character, his flexibility in terms of being able to play in different positions.

“You want somebody like him in your squad and wherever he plays you know exactly what you’re going to get from him. Callum is Callum, he’s a great guy and a great professional. His ideal position? Possibly not.”

The 25-year-old was brought to the club in July 2021 during Critchley's first spell as manager. He had two separate loan spells at local rivals Fleetwood Town, and joined after his contract at Everton came to an end.

When questioned as to what is his best position, Critchley responded: “Last season he played in midfield didn’t he?

“He played in midfield a little bit for me as well, I think he’s good in all different positions.

“He’s played right-back, left-back, centre-back in a three and he’s played in midfield. He’s always shown when he was younger the ability to arrive and score a goal when getting into the box.

“He nearly did that against Lincoln very early on in the game with a chance that we had and Callum arrived at the back post.

“Even last week against Wycombe, he crossed the ball at the end of the first-half and Jordan (Rhodes) scored a header which was onside.”