Roy Keane raises big Dan Ashworth concerns as Man Utd close in on Newcastle man | Football | Sport

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Roy Keane has handed Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth credit as Manchester United circle at the start of the INEOS era. However, the Old Trafford icon believes there are bigger fish in the pond than United and holds significant reservations about Ashworth’s loyalty to a long-term project when more attractive interest emerges.

The Red Devils are locked in negotiations with Newcastle over luring the highly-rated chief from Tyneside at the dawn of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s project.

INEOS will officially take control of football operations as early as next week following the Premier League and Football Association’s ratification of Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion investment.

And with Omar Berrada already through the door as the club’s new chief executive, Ashworth is the next high-profile appointment on the wishlist in a revamp of the recruitment department.

Ashworth has only worked at Newcastle since the summer of 2022 when he jumped ship from Brighton and Hove Albion to work under the club’s new regime under the owner of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The 52-year-old’s reported eagerness to already explore a new opportunity strikes Keane as a concern despite the mouth-watering challenge of restoring United to the summit of English and world football.

“You’re talking about Dan Ashworth coming into Manchester United and being the best for the job, but he doesn’t seem to hang around for long,” Keane said on the Stick to Football podcast.

“He was at Brighton for a few years, and he’s only been at Newcastle for a couple seasons, so you have to look at that too.

“There’s no doubt he’s brilliant at his job, but who is to say he won’t leave in 18 months for Real Madrid or Barcelona.”

Ashworth continued his involvement in football after retiring as a player by becoming Peterborough United’s academy director in 2000. The next year, he joined Cambridge United as the club’s centre of excellence director.

After a three-year stint, he switched to West Bromwich Albion in March 2004, first assisting youth team manager Aidy Boothroyd before replacing him in July that year.

In December 2007, Ashworth became the Baggies’ sporting and technical director, a role he kept for five years before leaving for the FA in September 2012.

As the FA’s director of elite development, Ashworth spearheaded a change of culture for the national team and was involved in the formation of the ‘England DNA’.

The elite development plan ‘to help create winning senior teams in the men’s and the women’s game’ has contributed to increased success at international tournaments over the last six years.

Ashworth resigned in September 2018, landing at Brighton and Hove Albion as their technical director the following year after being linked with the role at United.

Newcastle came calling in 2022, but he is already preparing to pack his bags again for the next – and biggest – challenge in his experienced career.

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