Former Bradford City central defender David Wetherall has been appointed as the Football League's new head of youth development.
Wetherall leaves his position as youth team manager at the Bantams to replace the retiring Graham Hawkins.
Wetherall will now oversee the world’s largest centrally coordinated young player development programme, with over 8,500 players between the ages of eight and 18 on the books of Football League clubs.
The Football League’s chief operating Officer, Andy Williamson, is delighted to have Wetherall on board. He said: “David is a high calibre appointment. He has set standards for players and coaches to aspire to throughout his career. We are delighted that he has accepted this hugely important role.
“The Football League is rightly proud if its track record in youth development, not just in terms of developing young players but also giving them access to first team football at a young age.
“We look forward to David joining The League and enhancing our contribution to this crucial area of the domestic game.”
Wetherall admitted he was proud to have been given the opportunity but it was an extremely difficult decision to leave Bradford after such a long association.
He added: “I am proud and privileged to have been chosen for this position at The Football League and I can’t wait to get started. I hope to have a positive effect on football development across The Football League by helping clubs to develop even more young players.
"It has been an extremely tough decision to leave a club I have such an affinity with. I just felt that this opportunity was too good to turn down."