Les Ferdinand in FA talks to replace Dan Ashworth

READING, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  QPR Head of Football Operations Les Ferdinand looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Queens Park Rangers on December 3, 2015 in Reading, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Image: Les Ferdinand is the early favourite to succeed Dan Ashworth as technical director at the FA

Les Ferdinand has held initial talks with the FA about replacing Dan Ashworth as the governing body's technical director, Sky Sports News understands.

A source has insisted that no formal interview process has started, but current Queens Park Rangers director of football Ferdinand is understood to be the early favourite for Ashworth's successor.

The highly-rated Ashworth will leave at the end of the year to take up a similar position at Brighton & Hove Albion. He had also been a target for Manchester United, who are planning to implement a techical director.

Ferdinand, who scored five goals in 17 caps for England, has been director of football at QPR since 2015 and oversaw relegation from the Premier League before 12th, 18th and 16th-place finishes in the Championship.

He enjoyed a 20-year playing career that included illustrious spells at QPR, Newcastle and Tottenham before joining West Ham, Leicester, Bolton, and then Reading, scoring 169 senior goals in total.

England boss Gareth Southgate praised the work of Ashworth in planning and implementing strategies that have helped the country reach a World Cup semi-final and win major trophies at U19 and U17 level.

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And Southgate said: "It's up to us now to continue the work that's been started."

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