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Gary Neville believes Dan Ashworth could be an influential figure as Manchester United’s sporting director, should he make the switch from Newcastle.

United are looking to fill the vacancy with an experienced head and are understood to have picked out Ashworth, who has performed similar roles at the Football Association, Brighton and now at St James’ Park.

Neville worked with Ashworth when he was England’s assistant manager between 2012-2016 and rates the 52-year-old as the kind of leader who could change the culture at Old Trafford, alongside incoming chief executive Omar Berrada.

Gary Neville saw the value of Ashworth's work during his time coaching England.
Gary Neville saw the value of Ashworth’s work during his time coaching England (Tim Goode/PA)

“If Dan does come in, I do think there’s a chance that the performance mentality will improve, the mentality that they do have, (it) could run through the club quite quickly,” he told Sky Bet’s Stick to Football podcast.

“I’m not saying Dan is going to be a success at Manchester United, but if you’ve got the guy in from Manchester City (Berrada) and now Dan Ashworth, at least you’ve got people in roles that belong, as they’ve not had that in the last 10 years.

“(With England) he started with the Under-21s, the Under-18s and with the women’s team. You think of the success of all those teams in recent years, but that has been in the making for eight years, and it all started when Dan came in.

“I’m not saying he’s responsible for what happened, but he had a big influence with FA. They were a terrible organisation from a professionalism point of view, and I felt what he did, he put processes in place where they’re now structured and organised.”

Neville also stressed that Ashworth would expect significant power in a new backroom structure led by Ineos chair Sir Jim Ratcliffe, whose deal to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the club could be completed next week.

“I’ve no doubt that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is trusting in Sir Dave Brailsford in finding the best CEO, the best sporting director, the best head of recruitment and the best coach,” said Neville.

“It looks like they’ve got the first two, and the two yet to be sorted is the head of recruitment and the best coach, but they’re doing it one by one. I suspect that if Dan Ashworth comes in, he’ll want authority at the club to be able to make decisions.”