Premier League rivals hijack Newcastle United’s Rice move as Dan Ashworth plan thwarted

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Newcastle United were previously close to another impressive back-room addition but it has now been thwarted by a Premier League rival

Newcastle United‘s plans to stregthen their scouting department with Southampton’s head of youth recruitment Dan Rice have been ‘hijacked’ by Everton.

Football Insider reported last week the Southampton man ‘handed in his resignation’ to take up a new role with Newcastle after two years with the Premier League strugglers.

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Former Fulham and Arsenal academy scout Rice joined the Saints as Under-13 to Under-19 recruitment manager in February 2021 before assuming his current position at the start of last season.

However, fresh reports from Football Insider say Everton are now leading the race for Rice with the Toffees said to be in advanced talks over a deal.

It adds that Newcastle have submitted an offer to Rice and were confident of landing his services until Everton made their move.

The move was set to be among a number of changes made by Dan Ashworth behind the scenes at St James Park.

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The Magpies academy scouting set-up has already been bolstered by arrivals of Manchester City duo Paul McLaren and Paul Midgeley and a deal was also agreed to allow West Ham United scout Delroy Ebanks to take over a newly-created role working in the South of England.

Edward Black, who has been Arsenal’s North of England and Scotland Emerging Talent Scout since June last year, has also been recruited as he takes up a lead scouting role, according to Training Ground Guru.

Sporting director Ashworth was appointed at Newcastle last summer - with one of his main goals to improve the club’s academy.

He said upon his arrival: “You get a change of owner, a change of manager or a club getting relegated or going into administration, and all of a sudden, these players come through and it’s, ‘Blimey, didn’t we have a load of good players in the Academy!’ They haven’t just suddenly landed there – it’s about joining up pathways.

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“All I can say is that I’m a former academy manager and I’m really passionate about giving young players an opportunity. But they have to be good enough. Football will decide if they’re good enough or not, but what we have to do as a club is give them the right people, the right coaching and the right pathway. And give them the opportunity to play – if they are good enough – in the top half of the Premier League.

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