Dan Ashworth has said he made up his mind to step down as technical director of the Football Association the moment England landed back home after reaching the World Cup semi-finals last summer.
The 47-year-old, who joined the FA in 2012, completed his last day with the organisation before taking up a similar role at Brighton and Hove Albion. He will be replaced by Les Reed, who recently left Southampton.
Ashworth said the realisation he would have to wait another four years before going to a World Cup had influenced his decision. “We landed – I’ll never forget this – coming back from Russia, landed on the runway, it occurred to me it would be another 4½ years before we did this again,” Ashworth said.
“We didn’t see all the euphoria because we were all in Russia, so I don’t think you ever quite feel what was going on in the country. You get YouTube clips and snippets, and messages from your family, but it was emotionally quite difficult to get back into home life, family life, normal life while realising there was still a fair chunk of time before we had another go at competing in football’s ultimate tournament: a World Cup.
“It was difficult. Difficult times – but in a nice way. I’d much rather have that than come back as we have after some other tournaments.”