Dan Ashworth finally joined Newcastle United on Monday and began his work as their Director of Football, sanctioning a loan departure for Isaac Hayden and signing Matt Targett permanently. The Magpies are expected to sign a few more players this summer and have a highly-rated DoF in charge of negotiations, so Shola Ameobi is confident Newcastle are going in the right direction.

He said at the Magpies’ Foundation HQ via Chronicle Live: “It’s going to be a game-changer for us – from a football operations point of view. Dan is someone who has got extensive experience working with the FA and the other roles he’s had too. He’s had some successes as well, so I am personally excited to be able to learn alongside him.”

Ameobi has been Newcastle’s loan manager since 2019, so he will work closely with Ashworth and update him on the progress of players at other clubs. The 40-year-old has a busy job at Newcastle. He’ll not only be required to track the development of loan players, the former Nigerian international could be watching the U18s and U23s, spending most of his time at games and being in meetings over future plans.

Ameobi added: “The experience he has and the vision he has for the club, it will be very exciting to see that come to life. The leadership and guidance he will bring from a football operations point of view is going to be key to the success we have as a club moving forward.”

Newcastle want to push for a top-seven finish next season and aim to build a squad capable of standing up to the big-six, so Ashworth’s expertise will be vital. He’ll be judged on every signing and criticised for every flop, so he’s under pressure to hit the ground running.

In other news, Paddy Kenny hails Newcastle for completing Matt Targett signing