Who is Dan Ashworth? The Newcastle chief and former PE teacher linked to Man Utd

Jacque Talbot
Jacque Talbot
  • 20 Feb 2024 21:52 GMT
  • 3 min read
Dan Ashworth

With Manchester United heavily linked and Jurgen Klopp's announcement about his departure from Liverpool at the end of the season, elite Premier League clubs' search for a new sporting director has started to gain momentum.

One name that keeps appearing is Dan Ashworth.

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Along with Klopp, key figures such as Pepijn Lijnders, Peter Krawietz, and Vitor Matos are set to depart, as well as Jorg Schmadtke, who presided over the summer window as the sporting director.

But it seems as though Man Utd are in the driving seat for the Newcastle sporting director, as Ineos looks to shake up their backroom staff.

Who is Dan Ashworth?

The former Brighton chief has a strong track record of identifying and sourcing young talent for clubs - but he began his time in football as a player himself. Ashworth was released from Norwich City's academy at the age of 17, which led him to a stint in non-league football.

Demonstrating adaptability, Ashworth combined playing for St Leonards with work as a PE teacher. His talent became evident during his time at Peterborough United, where he started as an education and welfare officer.

Kaoru Mitoma was sourced by Dan Ashworth
© IMAGO - Kaoru Mitoma was sourced by Dan Ashworth

Ashworth was then at the heart of West Brom's ascent to the Premier League, where he crafted the 'England DNA' model.

The club recognised Ashworth's potential and employed him in 2007, where he contributed to their promotion to the Premier League.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to shaker up Man Utd
© IMAGO - Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to shaker up Man Utd

After this, he held various roles in football administration, including serving as the technical director of the Football Association from 2012 to 2018. After, he moved to Brighton as technical director. He was responsible for overseeing the club's football operations and played a key role in player recruitment and development.

Some of Ashworth’s most successful acquisitions include Kaoru Mitoma, Leandro Trossard, and Moises Caicedo at Brighton. And then, he joined Newcastle, who had just become owned by PIF. The club invested heavily - but also wisely. The likes of Tino Livramento, Lewis Hall, Sandro Tonali, Alexander Isak and Sven Botman, and Anthony Gordon were brought in.

Despite speculation about a move to Man Utd Ashworth, in November, expressed dedication to Newcastle. But now reports continue about the prospect of a strategic role at either Anfield or Old Trafford, with the latter appearing to be closing in on an agreement with the 52-year-old.

Read more about: Premier League, Man Utd, Newcastle

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