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Dean Ashton
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Club as Player Norwich City FC

2019 03 29 Retrieve

[Liverpool and Manchester United have been warned off £10 million ($13m) moves for Norwich defender Ben Godfrey by former Canaries striker Dean Ashton] He was at York not that long ago and then he was brought in to Norwich as a U-23 player and he went out on loan. So to then get his chance in the first-team and play the way he has and then get Manchester United and Liverpool or whoever looking at him is incredible. I’m sure he’ll get there in the end but it’s such a big step to go to the Premier League in terms of quality and I would be very surprised if he was ready right now to step into a team like that. He should stay where he is because he is getting a great education at Norwich, he’s played in the team and hopefully he’ll get his chance in the Premier League next season anyway.

2019 06 26 Retrieve

[Dean Ashton says New West Ham signing Pablo Fornals will be a dream for the club’s strikers to link up] Fornals is a player that is going to excite West Ham fans. Nowadays I think a lot of teams are looking more at younger prospects that can improve - like Fornals - and he’s already shown with the Spain Under-21s, like with that winning goal he scored against Belgium, that he has real quality. Maybe at times last season that was something the team was slightly lacking in midfield; that bit of creativity to break certain teams down, but he can add that for sure. Formals would absolutely be a striker’s dream to play with.

[Ashton does not think it will be easy for him to break into the first team with the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko providing competition for places in attacking midfield] It’s going to be difficult for him to force his way straight in because of the quality that is already there. We’ve seen in previous seasons though that injuries play their part. Yarmolenko missing most of last season was a real blow and Lanzini only really got himself back and fully fit towards the end of the season. I think Fornals will look at it, as every new signing should do, as a real opportunity to stake a claim early on

2019 10 29 Retrieve

[Dean Ashton says Mexico international Javier Hernandez finds himself operating in the wrong era] For him, the era he’s playing in hasn’t helped him. Nowadays, managers like to play a lone striker and that doesn’t suit him at all. I think he would have thrived 15-20 years ago when two strikers played - a big one and a little one - and fed off someone and been ideal. But now, players like him seem to struggle because the manager wants a lone striker that can do everything, can hold the ball up but also score goals

[Having moved on from Hernandez, West Ham hope they have found their leading man in Sebastien Haller] HeSebastien Hallerhas shown so many good signs of the quality player that he is. When the ball comes into him, his hold-up play is very good. He’s got himself a couple of goals. We’re just still waiting to see that glimpse of absolute quality in terms of his finishing. He hasn’t scored a goal yet when I’ve gone ‘wow’. That’s the mark of a top striker. Plenty to improve, but a really good signing to start with and someone who can lead the line as a physical presence

2019 10 30 Retrieve

[Dean Ashton says West Ham’s Declan Rice is not anywhere near a £100 million player] Possibly. I feel as if he’s still got improvements to make and there is no better place to learn and do that than West Ham. He might need another season or two under his belt before making a move like there, where suddenly the pressure does become a lot more. I certainly wouldn’t be in any rush if I was Declan Rice. I think he’s in the right place to keep progressing his career

[Pressed further on where Rice needs to improve] He reads the game very well, he breaks the play up superbly. On the ball nowadays, you want your holding midfield players to dictate tempo and I’m not quite sure he’s got that. He’s obviously got Mark Noble to learn off, I think he’s still better than him at that, and where I would like to see improvement is on the ball, being comfortable, being able to dictate the pace in what is such an integral position now

[A move to Manchester may not hold the appeal it once did either] That does certainly change things, when a big club such as Manchester United aren’t necessarily challenging for trophies. But they are still a huge, huge football club that would always be in the running for someone like Declan Rice. But I wouldn’t be in any rush whatsoever if I was him. He does love the football club and I’m not sure he would be in any rush unless the move was absolutely spot on

[West Ham would not part with a prized asset on the cheap] I can’t see that. That’s a ridiculous amount for a player of his quality at the moment. I don’t think he’s anywhere near a £100m player. It is daft money nowadays, but I wouldn’t be saying that. If that was the case, regardless of how good he has been, then I’m sure West Ham would take that straight away

[Rice is not the only West Ham player to have generated exit talk, with the likes of Issa Diop and Felipe Anderson also considered to be capable of taking a step up in class at some stage] I think they are. They have shown plenty of glimpses of how good they can be. They have been very good signings for West Ham but you still look for consistency and performances and can they do that throughout an entire season? That is when big clubs really start to look at top players, when they are doing it consistently over a whole season

2019 11 01 Retrieve

[Former England striker Dean Ashton is excited by the firepower the Three Lions now have at their disposal] Very impressed. I had no doubts whatsoever that he would show this quality. You don’t score the goals he has in the Championship, in the manner he has, and not become a Premier League player - and a good one at that. He’s been given a platform by Frank Lampard and, once he has got the confidence, which we have seen now, he’s an incredible athlete and his movement has improved and his finishing is as good as anyone at the moment

[Quizzed on whether the Spurs star can be considered the finest frontman in world football] I think he is at the moment. He’s certainly up there with [Robert] Lewandowski in terms of an out-and-out No.9. At the moment it’s going to take some unbelievable performances and maybe a dip in form for him to lose his place for England. His scoring record, the way he leads the line and being captain as well, it’s difficult for a Tammy Abraham or anyone else, but they just have to keep scoring goals

[Ashton believes an exciting squad should be heading into that tournament full of confidence and believing that they can challenge once again for a major honour] The odd little result here and there has flagged up a few things, but it’s a young squad and players are going to make mistakes. I love the way Gareth has stuck to the way he wants to play, the more attractive style and giving youth a chance. I think every England fan should be excited, not expectant, but just excited and looking forward to what could happen in the Euros

2019 11 02 Retrieve

[Max Aarons and Ben Godfrey have already generated talk of interest from the likes of Tottenham and Manchester United, with former Norwich striker Dean Ashton expecting them to be ready for such moves at some point in the near future] At some point. They have definitely got the quality to step up in terms of the size of football club. Again, it’s a great place to be, playing week in, week out, which is so important when you’re young, but both of them have got great athletic ability. In terms of defensively, that is something they can improve on. The top clubs will only look at you if you’re consistently defending well and producing going forward

To think he was at York only a couple of seasons ago, it’s crazy to think how quickly he has moved up the ladder. But, as an athlete, he’s unbelievably impressive. It takes a good player to get around and past him because of that ability. And all of the time he seems to be improving, because at times he has played as a holding midfield player as well, which is another string to his bow

2020 04 23 Retrieve

[Former England striker Dean Ashton says Premier League must help lower league clubs to survive] Many clubs are working right on the edge. It is a real worry to see whether the clubs can cope depending on how long this carries on for and, when we do eventually come out of it, what our football pyramid looks like. It’s down to everybody to try pull together, including the Premier League, to make sure we still have our pyramid football in England. It would be naive to think the Premier League doesn’t benefit from the Football League, in terms of players that come through, in terms of football clubs that come on. The EFL plays a massive part in how competitive the Premier League has become, which is why it’s one of the best in the world

We’ve known it for a long time, but the amount of money that clubs spend on wages seems ridiculous when you compare it to the percentage of everything else they spend. That is the biggest gamble - getting players in for money that they don’t have or stretching themselves with wages. I have felt for a long time there should be some sort of salary cap because I don’t see how football clubs will survive if wages just keep going up and up.

We’ve gone too far with this season for it to be voided. Teams have got themselves into positions that are still too close to call so I can’t see how it can be voided and be fair to everyone

When you play, you think it’s all about you as players and clubs, when you actually take away the supporters, players don’t enjoy it. It is about the supporters. It’s an entertainment business once you get to the really elite level and I think I wouldn’t see what the rush was, other than financially, which I understand with people’s jobs. But in a football sense I don’t see what the rush would be to try and get the season finished, I would wait till everybody can go.

2020 04 24 Retrieve

[Southgate urged to get Maddison and Grealish into his England team] It’s the sort of jolt that I think the English FA and the English setup has needed from Gareth Southgate and it’s been surprising because it’s come from within their structure. He was part of the youth set-ups and the under-21s and he’s come through and done things differently to any other manager in that he’s given the young players a chance. It used to be that matter how well you played in the under-21s you felt that might make no difference whatsoever. Since the start of his reign, it felt as if you were playing well in the Premier League, you were going to get your chance which it never really felt as if that was the case before because it felt like a closed shop.

If you look at Germany and Spain, the sort of template that they ended up winning the World Cup off the back of, was the young players doing well at youth level internationally and for their clubs, then, jumping up to the senior team almost as a group. Having been through the experiences together to then be able to cope with the pressures that come with these massive competitions. In terms of the talents, I feel as if we have to have more creativity in midfield. We have to have Jack Grealish or James Maddison. They should both be in the squad - if not both in the team, when we can. They would be the standout players because midfield is the one area I think we’re just lacking. With the players and the characte that we saw in the World Cup, if they can take that into to the European Championships, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t win it

You look at being a manager and you expect that. But over the years we haven’t necessarily felt as if we’ve had someone in charge who is like that. He is just a genuinely proper bloke with real integrity and morals and so he does things the right way. It’s no surprise whatsoever to see him leading the way in this situation