Middlesbrough have completed the signing of 18-year-old striker Cole Kiernan from Sunderland.
Matched with a lacklustre showing on the pitch, academy manager Paul Reid departed his role with immediate effect last week, leaving the status of Sunderland’s youth setup in doubt.
Reid’s exit followed a number of academy talents to have moved on to other clubs, with youngster Bali Mumba set to join Premier League club Norwich City.
Kiernan, who was born in Hartlepool, arrived at the Academy of Light from York City on a scholarship. Whilst the youngster’s success for Sunderland has been minimal due to the team’s poor results, he still made 15 appearances, netting five goals for the under-18 side.
Middlesbrough’s Head of Academy Craig Liddle said: “Cole was a player we wanted to sign a few years ago, and we’re delighted to be able to bring him to the club now.
“We’ve been following his progress and his development at Sunderland, and when the opportunity came about to sign him on a professional contract we were keen to do so.
“Cole joins a number of our other young players who have progressed through our Academy in signing pro contracts this summer, and we’re looking forward to working with them all when the new season starts.”
As another young player leaves Sunderland, fresh off the back of Reid’s exit, that leaves even more question marks about what is going to happen moving forward at the Academy of Light.
Whilst Sunderland’s focus will be firmly on trying to gain promotion from League One to the Championship for the first team, the club must not forget that the youth sides are important, too, and Kiernan’s departure to Middlesbrough is another setback for the Black Cats’ underage ranks.
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