Jimmy Sinclair is the new Sunderland youth supremo.. so what is his academy record like and how did he do at Rangers?

McKay is one of the best products to come through the Rangers academy in recent times
McKay is one of the best products to come through the Rangers academy in recent times
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Ged McNamee stepped down after 20 years of service, leaving Sunderland with a big role to fill as head of the academy.

McNamee had overseen the development of the likes of Jordan Henderson, as well as the recent progression of Duncan Watmore, Lynden Gooch & Jordan Pickford.

Sunderland and Martin Bain went for a familiar face, with Jimmy Sinclair arriving in the role.

He was Bain's appointment to the same role at Rangers back in 2006, given the brief by his now Chief Executive to bring two players through a season. He held that post until 2014, his time encompassing the most traumatic period in the club's history.

So how did he get on? It's a complex picture...

A reasonable return

Sinclair arrived with Rangers enjoying relative dominance over the Scottish landscape, winning titles under the legendary Walter Smith.

At that point they had a strong cohort of players from their youth system in the side, with the likes of Allan McGregor, Charlie Adam & Chris Burke, all of whom went on to enjoy relative success south of the border.

In the years following years Sinclair helped bring through the likes of John Fleck, Jamie Ness and Gregg Wylde, who all threatened to become first team regulars.

Rangers' liquidation transformed the picture, the previously mentioned players all leaving the club and moving on elsewhere. The club had to start again from scratch and many of Sinclair's youth players went on to play a big part in their rise back up the Scottish footballing pyramid.

Andrew Little was a regular goalscorer, while Kane Hemmings, Lewis Macleod, Kyle Hutton, Robbie Crawford playing their part.

Most have not been able to step up the top tier of Scottish football, but in Danny Wilson and Barrie McKay, Sinclair can point to two of the best assets in the current squad.The latter has been linked with a £6 million switch to rising German giants RB Leipzig.

What does it mean for Sunderland?

Sinclair faces his fair share of criticism from Rangers fans, particularly with Celtic's youth system providing a plethora of players who could either shine for the first team or help boost the financial situation when moved on.

Yet in fairness, youth always shines at the best run clubs when they can be eased into the team when ready.

Rangers faced a truly tumultuous period in their history, managers faced with immense pressure to win week in, week out in an often acrimonious atmosphere. That's not the best atmosphere for blooding youth and watching them flourish.

At Sunderland Sinclair will inherit a system starting to bear fruit, and a manager who has faced criticism for not playing youth but truly, has given it a chance more than any manager in recent memory.

The task now will be to continue the blend of bringing through players from the local area and identifying talent elsewhere who can continue their progression on Wearside.

In the likes of Pickford, Watmore & Gooch Sunderland have started to improve on that front, but to become a stable Premier League club on stronger financial footing, it will have to get even better. Sinclair's time at Rangers will have given him a good understanding of that.