In this week's Academy Column, we bring you the first interview with Liverpool's new U18s manager Neil Critchley, in which he talks about the 'family feel' he has already encountered at the club.
Neil joins the Reds from Crewe Alexandra, where he held the role of academy director since 2007.
The 34-year-old started his career as a junior player at Crewe, before rising through the ranks to make one appearance for the club's senior side against Fulham during the 1999-2000 season.
In his first column for Liverpoolfc.com, Neil talks about settling in to life on Merseyside and his ambitions for the future...
First of all, let me say that I'm excited and I'm delighted to be here. I've left what was a very unique club and I wouldn't have left if it wasn't for something special. This is special. It's Liverpool FC and I just can't wait to get going.
When I first heard Liverpool wanted me to come, it was a mixture of emotions. I was proud and excited, but I also knew that it would be a difficult decision. When you've been at Crewe for a large period of your life like I had, it was difficult to leave.
So, in some ways, it made me a little apprehensive. But now I've made the decision, I'm thoroughly enjoying being in this working environment.
It will be a step up in terms of the resources and facilities and the fact that I'm working at a Premier League club, but the challenge is always the same whatever club you're at.
At my level, it is to develop players and work with them to make them as good as they can be, both as people and footballers. So the principles are the same, no matter what club you work at.
I have to say, the people here have been fantastic with me. They've made me feel very welcome. There's more people here than Crewe, but there's still a family feel to the club. I've really enjoyed every minute so far and long may that continue.
At first-team level, the manager's emphasis on bringing through young talent is absolutely vital. He has empathy for the position that we're in, trying to develop players and as you saw last season, he's willing to promote that and give players the opportunity.
Without such an opportunity, the Academy is almost redundant; there's got to be an opportunity at the end of it all. And the manager has shown he is willing to give them a chance.
The fact that I've been brought in makes a statement in itself. I'm not an ex-Liverpool player and I haven't got 65 international caps and medals falling out the back of my car, but I've got years of coaching under my belt. And I think it's refreshing that the club have given someone like me the opportunity.
While the U18s were away in New York, I was able to spend some time down at Melwood, which was brilliant for me. I saw the interaction of the staff and the players and some of our U21s were there.
That integration was fantastic. To spend some time with the manager, Mike Marsh and Colin Pascoe to see how they work was a great insight for me.
I have to say it's not dissimilar to where I've come from, so that gives me an advantage. But I'm really looking forward to implementing their methods into my coaching and making myself better, to make the players better.
At Crewe, the secret was good coaching and good coaches working throughout the age groups. Dario Gradi had a massive input into that and he had a big say in my career, as a footballer, as a coach and as a person, because I had been there since I was 10.
There were plenty of other people there too who had been there for a long period of time. So they know the workings of the club and the type of players we wanted to produce. And I get a similar kind of feeling here.
One of the players I worked with at Crewe was Daniel Trickett-Smith. He joined us when he was 12 and unfortunately he left when he was at U16 level. We didn't want him to leave and we fought to keep him. He was one of our best players at that time.
So I've known Dan for a long time and it was nice to see a familiar face when I arrived here. I know him and what he's capable of. But all the boys have been really receptive to the work so far and I've been really impressed with their ability and humility on the football pitch.
After the boys returned from their USA trip last week, they had a couple of down days on the Thursday and Friday - light sort of sessions. Then they had the week off. So we got to work on the Monday. I must say I've been really impressed with them as a group.
They've been really receptive to the work and they've listened. I think they are going to be good to work with. I'm looking forward to spending more hours on the training ground with them. I can see the ability in the group, but I know there are things to work on as well.
As part of learning my trade as a coach, I undertook UEFA's first elite badge course. It was the first of its kind in this country and across Europe. I was selected by the FA to attend the course. It was an 18-month course and I have to say it was the best I've ever been on.
Dick Bate and Alistair Smith were the course leaders and they were unbelievable. They were top draw and just to spend time in their company was a real privilege. There were 15 other people on the course and it made you think outside the box a little bit.
It definitely stretched you outside your comfort zone, both on and off the pitch. It made you look at the game a little bit differently and challenge your thinking.
My personal ambition is never any different. I give my all to the players to make them the best that they can be. I try and sacrifice myself in the best interests of the players because at the end of the day, they are the number one priority. So my focus is always on them.
My ambition is to try and get as many of our boys as possible to Alex Inglethorpe's U21 team and then on to the first-team.