Jim Magilton has predicted that the Irish FA Academy will continue to produce players who will follow in the footsteps of Manchester United star Ethan Galbraith and become senior Northern Ireland internationals.
Magilton's comments come as he steps away from his role as Elite Performance Director with the IFA to join League of Ireland club Dundalk as Sporting Director.
The Belfast Telegraph revealed last month that the IFA had given Dundalk permission to speak to Magilton and from there it was only a matter of time before the 51-year-old, who won 52 caps for Northern Ireland, moved south.
Magilton, who has made a positive impact as Elite Performance Director since 2013, said in a statement released yesterday: "Today ends an incredible journey for me both personally and professionally. I would like to thank the Irish FA, and in particular Michael O'Neill, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it.
"I would like to thank all of my staff, past and present, in both the Club NI and academy programme and the coach education team who have shown me tremendous loyalty and support over these past seven-plus years, and for their enormous contribution to the association and development of our young players.
"I have been involved in and enjoyed the most incredible time in the history of the association and I would like to wish Ian Baraclough and the senior squad continued success in the coming years.
"I know that the creation of the academy will help to generate many more great footballing memories for Northern Ireland. We have seen the first green shoots of that work, with the inclusion of Ethan Galbraith in the senior international squad, and I know there will be more. Thank you and good luck."
IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said that Magilton had "helped us take major steps in both identifying and preparing our young talent for a future in the professional game.
"He masterminded the successful JD Club NI elite player development programme and more recently the opening and operation of the Irish FA JD Academy in collaboration with UEFA at Ulster University's Jordanstown campus."