Exclusive: Manchester City snap-up key figure in Sheffield Wednesday’s youth set-up

George Hirst is one of a number of players who have come through Sheffield Wednesday's Academy under the departing Dean Ramsdale
George Hirst is one of a number of players who have come through Sheffield Wednesday's Academy under the departing Dean Ramsdale
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Owls academy manager Dean Ramsdale is leaving to join Premier League giants Manchester City, The Star understands.

Barring any last minute hitches, Ramsdale is expected to move to the Etihad Stadium outfit ahead of the 2017/18 season.

Dean Ramsdale is soon to join Manchester City

Dean Ramsdale is soon to join Manchester City

It is believed Ramsdale will join City’s academy scouting department and travel the globe searching for the best youth talent.

Ramsdale has spent over four and a half years at Hillsborough. He was brought in by former Wednesday manager Dave Jones and has helped revitalise the club’s youth set-up.

Wednesday’s youngsters have excelled this year. Their Under-23s, managed by Neil Thompson, scooped two trophies, winning the Professional Development League Two North title and defeated Hull City 3-1 in the play-off final at Hillsborough.

Several academy players were handed their debuts last term, including Cameron Dawson, Connor O’Grady, James Murphy and George Hirst.

Neil Thompson and Dean Ramsdale have spearheaded a rise in quality in Sheffield Wednesday's youth development

Neil Thompson and Dean Ramsdale have spearheaded a rise in quality in Sheffield Wednesday's youth development

In an interview with The Star earlier this year, Ramsdale, a well-respected figure in the sport, having worked in youth development over 20 years, said: “We have improved everything from top to bottom.

“From when I first came in, we have heavily restructured our recruitment department. We have now got specific heads of local, national and international recruitment.

“We’ve got boys in our system who we wouldn’t have got before. We have got better players but we are looking to constantly get better.”

Meanwhile, prolific young striker Hirst will be looking to impress for England in the Toulon tournament. The Three Lions face Angola in opening Group A match tonight.