READING FC have today announced Ged Roddy MBE as their new academy boss following Lee Herron's shock departure.

Roddy, a key figure in the introduction of the prestigious Elite Player Performance Program (EPPP) will take over at the helm of the club's development squad.

Former academy chief Lee Heron stepped down recently and was linked with a move to Arsenal to team up with Per Mertesacker when the German international takes over the Gunners' youngsters next season.

Roddy, who was awarded an MBE for his contribution to sport back in 2000, said he hopes to continue the work of Reading FC legend Eamonn Dolan.

Roddy said: “It is a great honour to be asked to lead an academy which has an outstanding and richly deserved reputation for developing young home-grown footballers.

“Throughout my career, I worked very closely with the late Eamonn Dolan and the legacy he created at this club and within its esteemed academy, remains at the heart of this club’s youth development programme.

"I am looking forward to the challenge of protecting and strengthening that legacy. And these are exciting times at Reading with dynamic leaders at the club and ambitious plans for its future.”

Roddy, who has experience in coaching and management, has worked in both football and rugby union. He is a qualified teacher who has worked at leading universities across the country.

Chief executive Ron Gourlay added: "To appoint an academy manager who has played a pivotal, pioneering role in progressively restructuring youth football at the very highest level and who has since shaped continuing club academy reforms across the country - this is a significant statement of intent from Reading Football Club and its owners.

“At Reading, we remain extremely proud of our academy, its past and present successes and aspirations for the future and I am confident that with Ged’s passion and experience in advancement of youth football, our system will continue to flourish.

"I would personally like to welcome Ged to Reading Football Club and wish him the very best of luck in his new role.”