'Don't think' - Newcastle United supporters will love Eddie Howe's Dan Ashworth response amid Man Utd saga

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Eddie Howe was quizzed on Dan Ashworth's exit from Newcastle United as sporting director eyes Manchester United switch.

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe refused to heap praise on Dan Ashworth and says it's been business as usual following the sporting director's departure earlier this week.

Following weeks of speculation, the 52-year-old was placed on gardening leave on Monday after informing the Magpies of his desire to leave the club and join Manchester United, who are now 25% owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos Group.

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Ashworth will be on gardening leave until January 2026, unless the Red Devils meet Newcastle's reported £15million to £20m compensation price. In the meantime, the search for Ashworth's successor is underway, as confirmed by CEO Darren Eales.

Former Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)Former Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Former Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Asked if the Ashworth situation has been disruptive, Howe replied: “The day-to-day running of the football club, not at all. It’s something that has happened away from the players and training ground. It’s been business as usual for us. A normal week.

"For the club, maybe more so than me. I'm coaching the players every day so it's not affected me at all. But obviously at the club things have changed and they have to make decisions they didn't know they'd have to make.

“Certainly the events this week have given that certainty. I said in my press conference last week is what we needed as a football club. We’ve got that now and look forward to the future.”

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Howe was given the opportunity to sum up Ashworth's 20 months on Tyneside, to which he perhaps coldly responded: “I don’t think I should be going there to be honest. That’s something for other people to reflect on.

"Certainly as a football club we need to reflect and make sure we move forward stronger than we were before, that’s got to be our aim. I don’t think it’s right I comment on it.”

In light of Ashworth's Tyneside exit, Man United's new co-owner Ratcliffe went on record to describe Newcastle's compensation demand as "silly" and "absurd". Those comments were put to Howe, but he refused to bite.

"I don't think I can respond to that," he said. "I don't think that's for me. I'm not involved in those discussions and I'll stay well away."

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Pressed on the importance of getting the best deal for Newcastle, Howe added: "In these situations it’s about Newcastle from our perspective. But that is for other people to make those decisions, I’m not involved in that in any way, shape or form. I’m preparing the team to play Arsenal." Looking to the future then, Howe says the the appointment of a new sporting director will be solely down the hierarchy, although is keen to express his views.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Howe said: "I don't think I'll be involved in the decision-making process but I think we will have discussions on the role and how I see that. But again I don't think that will be definitive, it'll be the club's decision and rightly so. But of course it won't just be my opinion that they will listen to, they'll be listening to lots of different opinions from lots of different people.

"Hopefully at the end we just come to the right solution for the football club because hopefully the next person that comes in will be at the club for many years and will be able to take the club in the direction everyone wants it to." He added: "I think I said last week, ideally in that role you are in the position for a long period of time. It's a bit like being an academy manager, in charge of the academy, you're not going to see the end result of your work for many years because you're putting things in place. That's the same as a sporting director. It's a longer term role, ideally."

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