(Reuters) - The English Football Association (FA) has appointed former Southampton vice-chairman Les Reed as its new technical director, it announced on Friday.
Reed replaces Dan Ashworth, who said in September he was leaving his position to take up a similar role at Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion in the New Year.
The 66-year-old, who is set to take charge in February, will be responsible for all elite England men's sides from their development teams through to the senior squads.
"I am honoured to be appointed as the FA's technical director at such an exciting time for the game in this country," Reed, who was sacked by Southampton in November with the team struggling in the Premier League, said in a statement http://www.thefa.com/news/2018/dec/21/les-reed-appointed-as-fa-technical-director-211218.
"We're coming off the back of the most incredible year and I have nothing but respect for the outstanding work of Dan Ashworth and all the coaches and staff at St. George's Park."
During Ashworth's tenure with the FA, which began in 2013, England won the Under-20 World Cup, the Under-17 World Cup and the Under-19 European Championship last year. The senior team reached the World Cup semi-finals in Russia this year.
The women's team has enjoyed success as well, finishing third at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and have qualified for next year's finals in France.
"The challenge will be to continue the progress that has been made and I hope I can bring my experience to help England teams continue on the right path," Reed added.
Reed worked for the FA between 1986 and 1995 as a coach in different capacities, working with the likes of Bobby Robson, Don Howe, Dave Sexton and Kevin Keegan.
He held various technical roles in his second spell between 1998 and 2004, with the latter two years as technical director.
Reed's responsibilities in his new role will also include growing the number of qualified coaches and oversee programmes at the national football centre, including in the fields of sports science and medicine.
"His experience is unrivalled so it is no surprise that he came through a thorough recruitment process as the outstanding candidate," FA chief executive Martin Glenn said.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)