Ollie Younger left Sunderland for Doncaster Rovers until the summer of 2023 this afternoon.
The 22-year-old made eight senior appearances in his time with the Black Cats, mainly in the Papa John’s Trophy, and will be hoping to inspire Donny to an upturn in form as League One’s rock bottom side.
The centre back was highly rated on Wearside, but with the depth of quality senior centre backs currently in the squad, it looked unlikely, with his contract set to expire this summer, that there was a pathway for him to earn regular first team opportunities.
Sunderland Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman explained the decision to allow Younger to leave when he spoke to the club’s website.
He said: “Ollie has really progressed over the last 18 months, but not populated the starting eleven enough due to the competition between our senior players.
“We believe that it’s important he continues his development to build a career and Doncaster represents a fantastic opportunity for him.
“Whilst the selfish approach would be to retain him, we need to support our young players with the right decisions at the right time.
“He’s a great kid and we wish him well.”
The challenge of lifting Doncaster off the foot of the table may be a challenging atmosphere for Younger to go into, however if he hits the ground running there should at least be a platform for him to earn regular minutes in League Two next season.
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It is always sad to see a younger player leave the club who supporters would have once had high hopes for graduating into the first team picture.
Although, this one certainly does feel like the best move for both parties.
At 22, Younger has very limited experience in senior football to which may have seen him fall further down the pyramid as a free agent this summer.
With no contract negotiations forthcoming at the Stadium of Light, it is a positive for Younger that he is able to stay in the EFL until at least the end of next season, with the chance to push for a starting berth at Doncaster Rovers.
The 22-year-old enters a high pressure environment irrespective of what league Rovers are in next season, with the likelihood being that Younger will be part of a squad assembled to push for promotion from the fourth tier next term.