Long-serving Sunderland academy manager Ged McNamee is to step down after 20 years at the club, it has been announced.
McNamee has headed up the club's youth development programme for almost two decades and he has spoken of his pride at seeing the club produce a string of promising youngsters.
Over the years, the club’s category one academy has produced the likes of Jordan Henderson, who has since gone on to captain Liverpool and England, Jack Colback and in more recent years the likes of England Under-21 international Duncan Watmore and Jordan Pickford who was drafted into the last England squad.
McNamee, reflecting on his decision, said: "I have enjoyed 20 very memorable years at Sunderland and have had some incredible times, including seeing one of our own captain England recently.
"We are starting to see the fruits of many years of hard work from the academy staff, with a number of our home grown players, including Jordan Pickford, making first team debuts in recent months.
"The academy is in a good place and it feels like the right time for me to hand over the reins.
"I wish everyone at the academy and the club the very best and thank them for their fantastic support over the years, they are a great team of people."
The move is part of wider restructuring plans at the Stadium of Light.
Martin Bain, Sunderland's chief executive, said: "We would like to thank Ged for his immense commitment and dedication to the club during his time with us.
"He has been a great servant to Sunderland AFC and he leaves us with our sincere good wishes for the future."
Sunderland appointed Bain and new manager David Moyes in the summer and changes are being made behind the scenes across all areas at the Stadium of Light.
Club doctor Ishtiaq Rehman, who joined the club in 2013, and assistant academy manager Danny Philpott are among the backroom members of staff to leave the club.