FORMER Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia has been interviewed for Newcastle’s under-18 head coach vacancy.
Sbragia, assistant boss, manager and chief scout during four years at the Stadium of Light, was the most noteworthy candidate in a high-class field for a key role in United’s Academy.
But The Journal understands that former Everton boss Dave Watson – a close friend of United coach Willie Donachie – is in line to get the job.
In derby week it would have been an interesting move for Sbragia, who is a well regarded coach and a popular figure within the game.
He has been carrying out some freelance scouting since leaving his ‘job for life’ at Sunderland back in March as part of a reshuffle that saw Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson take over as top talent spotter. He saw the United role as a perfect chance to get back onto the training pitches. But Watson appears to be the front runner for the job having worked as Wigan’s youth team coach of late.
Newcastle are currently in the process of overhauling their Academy staff, with top Geordie talent spotter Gavin Tait having left the club recently.
The Academy was pinpointed by owner Mike Ashley as one of the key areas where improvement was needed, and the United owner has poured funds into the set-up since taking over.
United have seen Andy Carroll and Steven Taylor develop into first-team players in recent years, with high hopes for Shane Ferguson and Haris Vuckic, the Slovenian wonder kid that they paid six figures to entice to the North East.