Dawson relishing Premier League Asia Trophy double bill
Written by Luke Vinton
Ben Dawson believes Newcastle United's Premier League Asia Trophy campaign in China will be strong preparation for the first team squad ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Dawson, United's Academy head of coaching, and under-23s head coach Neil Redfearn are overseeing Newcastle's pre-season work in the Far East while the process of appointing a new manager continues.
The Magpies, who completed their first training session in Nanjing this morning, face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday (kick-off 11am BST) before taking on either Premier League champions Manchester City or West Ham United at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai on Saturday, 20th July.
Dawson said: "It's really exciting to be in China for the Premier League Asia Trophy since we've been asked to come in and look after the squad at this moment in time.
"Everybody has been looking forward to it and working hard. The staff have put a good plan in place and we are looking forward to two competitive games to get the pre-season schedule up and running.
"I'm feeling really fortunate that the club have trusted myself and Neil (Redfearn) to look after things until a new manager comes in. Personally, it's a great opportunity.
"The staff have been terrific with the plan they already had in place and our job is to come in and give it a bit of a football element and try to prepare the lads as best as possible."
After a warm welcome from passionate local supporters, Dawson is now focused on beginning pre-season in a positive manner as Newcastle go up against a Wolves side which finished seventh in the Premier League last term.
United's last two top-flight fixtures against Nuno Espírito Santo's side have both involved late drama - with Newcastle conceding in stoppage time during a 2-1 defeat at St. James' Park back in December before a 1-1 draw at Molineux in February.
Dawson added: "It's a great opportunity for the players to show their appreciation for the fanbase out here.
"It will be a different culture that they are going to experience. We have already have seen some of them at the hotel to greet us and I'm sure they will all make the most of it.
"They (Wolves) are Premier League opposition so I'm expecting, with it being a competitive fixture, it'll have a bit more edge than the usual friendlies do at this stage.
"They will be on a real high from the momentum they gained from the end of last season. They are looking forward to Europa League fixtures also so I expect it will be a really tough game in difficult conditions.
"The lads are chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch and get back to their day jobs."
"Everybody has been looking forward to it and working hard. The staff have put a good plan in place and we are looking forward to two competitive games to get the pre-season schedule up and running."