Reading legend Graeme Murty has been hailed as a 'natural candidate' as the new Head of Professional Development Phase at Championship side Sunderland.

Playing more than 350 times for the Royals between 1998 and 2009, the North-East native has returned nearer his roots following spells with Norwich City, Southampton and Rangers.

Taking on a variety of roles at Ibrox, including caretaker manager for the first team, the former Scotland international arrives on Wearside with a wealth of experience.

It is this experience, according to Head of Coaching, Stuart English, that made him a stand-out individual for the role.

“Graeme stood out to us as the natural candidate for this role," English explained. "His experience in a playing and coaching capacity is something that can greatly benefit those in the Under-21s and beyond, and in addition to his coaching duties, he will also work closely with our players on an individual basis to create personalised programmes to further enhance their development. We believe he will be a great addition to our coaching team at the Academy of Light and we are delighted to welcome him to SAFC.”

Murty, who famously captained the Royals to the Premier League in 2006, spoke to the club too- underlining his excitement at taking over at the Academy of Light.

The 47-year-old said: “I’ve been out the game for a little while, but I can’t wait to get started and get back on the training pitch working with the team. Everyone at the Club has been very welcoming and I’m looking forward to building on the foundations that have already been put in place to help to ensure our Under-21s continue to progress.”