Blackpool chief reveals what Sunderland sources said about Ethan Robson as he lifts the lid on midfielder pursuit
Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford has lifted the lid on the Seasiders’ pursuit of Ethan Robson - and why they made the former Sunderland midfielder a top target.
Robson put pen to paper on a two-year deal at Bloomfield Road this week as he looks to establish himself as a regular League One player.
And Mansford has offered an intriguing insight into how the Seasiders pinpointed the 23-year-old as a top target.
Key to the negotiations were former Liverpool under-23 manager Neil Critchley who, after being handed the Blackpool job earlier this year, is keen to use his encyclopedic knowledge of young players to great effect.
His impact, coupled with glowing references, led to Mansford opening negotiations.
“We do a lot of work into the background of the players we sign,” explained the chief executive, speaking to the Blackpool Gazette.
“We spoke to people both in and out of Sunderland and they were all a bit surprised.
“Neil knows all about him, there isn’t an Under-23 player in Europe that he doesn’t know, he’s got a fantastic knowledge of players and in particular young ones in England.
“Ethan had a very good spell at Grimsby, a very good spell at Dundee and he’s unlucky that at a couple of times when he maybe could have grasped an opportunity at Sunderland, he was just let down by bad luck with an injury or two,” he continued.
“When I say an injury or two, it’s nothing substantial because looking at his medical he went through with us it was an incredibly good one and there were some great outcomes from it.
“He’s a young man that comes with a real fire in his belly and looking at the other teams that were involved in trying to sign him, I think yet again the opportunity, the project and the ambition of this club - along with working with one of the best coaches around and one of the best developers of young players - then I hope the supporters will see what we’re trying to achieve.”