Sunderland have made their first signing of the summer and the first under Paolo Di Canio's reign with the acquisition of Duncan Watmore from non-league side Altrincham FC.
19-year-old Watmore is primarily a striker but can also play on the wing and was voted Altrincham's Player of the Season by their fans. He made the headlines in February when he scored a spectacular solo goal against Corby Town;
That goal was later voted Altrincham's Goal of the Season.
He had a six year spell in Manchester United's academy before being released aged 12, after a few years playing with a junior side he joined Altrincham where he scored 15 goals in 35 starts for their first team.
Duncan, who is the son of former FA Chief Executive Ian Watmore, said of the move;
I am delighted at the opportunity Sunderland have given me and excited by the move. They have one of the finest academies in England, and the Sunderland people have been very welcoming and professional throughout. I also want to put on record my thanks to Altrincham for giving me my chance and developing me. In particular, George Heslop brought me through the youth team, the manager Lee Sinnott has taught me so much, and the whole Club have supported me all the way. Whatever happens in the future I will always be an Alty fan.
Altrincham were delighted for the youngster for achieving a move to a Premier League club, with manager Lee Sinnott telling altrinchamfc.co.uk;
We would all like to congratulate Duncan on securing a move to Sunderland AFC. He has been a popular member of the squad and Sunderland are acquiring a player with many years of development in him. It is a wonderful opportunity for him and we will watch his progress with interest.
Watmore has signed a two-year-contract for an undisclosed fee and will initially start in the development squad. Ged McNamee told safc.com;
We are pleased to welcome Duncan to the club and wish him the best of luck.
This signing comes hot on the heels of Ryan Noble's release and should be the start of the rumoured Development Squad revamp.