Man Utd target Ashworth placed on gardening leave by Newcastle

Newcastle have placed sporting director Dan Ashworth on gardening leave after an approach from Manchester United.

The 52-year-old told the Tyneside club he wanted to leave on Sunday.

Darren Eales, Newcastle United CEO, said on Monday: "We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave, however our exciting journey doesn't stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.

"We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and we wish him and his family well for the future."

Ashworth is top of Sir Jim Ratcliffe's list to front up his new football operation at Old Trafford after completing his deal for a 25 per cent stake in the club.

There is yet to be a formal approach for Ashworth, but that is expected to come this week.

Ashworth informed Newcastle of Man Utd's interest last weekend.