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Eddie Howe breaks silence on Man United’s interest in Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth



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Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has addressed the interest from Manchester United in his sporting director Dan Ashworth.

Ashworth, 52, joined The Geordies in February last year after their takeover was completed and has since played a key role in turning fortunes around at St James’ Park.

At United, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to take over the sporting department after his 25 per cent stake is ratified in the coming days.

The Ineos chief and his right-hand man, Sir David Brailsford, are aiming to improve and rejig the current structure. Chief executive Richard Arnold has already left his position, with Jean-Claude Blanc expected to take over the role under Ratcliffe.

A new sporting director is also a role that will be filled by Ratcliffe and Brailsford and there have been several names suggested, including Paul Mitchell and Ashworth.

The Newcastle director has recently emerged as the favourite for the Ineos chiefs in a new-look department, and his close relationship with Brailsford has been described as a bargaining chip that United could use to influence his decision.

Speaking this week, Eddie Howe has addressed the rumours around Ashworth and praised the work he’s done at Newcastle.

“Of course, I’ve spoken to Dan, but not necessarily about that,” he responded when asked about the reports. “It’s very difficult to comment on speculation, whether that be a player or someone in Dan’s position. I’ve got no doubt that Dan is here for the long term, but it’s probably a question for Dan rather than me.

“I think whenever someone is in the important role that Dan is, hugely important, and he’s done a really good job in helping us in loads of different ways [since being appointed].

“He’s connected with everything that goes on in terms of the decision-making at the club. He’s hugely important and has been a really calming influence behind the scenes, his vast experience has really helped.”