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Sunderland release seven youth players, including Peter Burke, Joel Dixon and Andrew Cartwright

Sunderland AFC have announced that seven youth players have been released by the club.

Sunderland have released seven youth players following the expiration of their current deals.

The players in the club's Under-18 and Under-21 squads, who will be free agents from 30 June, are Ryan Ellison, Ross Colquhoun, Jassem Sukar, Tom McNamee, Peter Burke, Joel Dixon and Andrew Cartwright.

Sunderland's sporting director, Lee Congerton, told the club's official website: “The players have been with us for a number of years and have developed their footballing ability and education, standing them in good stead to continue their football careers.

“Everyone at the club wishes them the best of luck and success for their future careers.”

Just like when a player in the first-team is no longer needed by the club, youngsters can also become free agents and be snapped up by other football clubs. It happens at this time every year and can be distressing for the youngsters involved but all they can do is get back playing again and search for potentially interested clubs.

Some kids make it, others don't - that's the reality of it, but the relevant Premier League clubs do their utmost to help the youngsters develop into better players and construct careers in the sport.

It remains uncertain where any of these players will end up, but from 30 June they will no longer be Sunderland players.

Andrew Cartwright, for instance, will be hoping to follow the footsteps of his father Peter in earning a professional contract. Peter Cartwright made 65 league appearances for Sunderland's rivals Newcastle United and also represented Scunthorpe and Darlington.

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