Boro has a similar partnership in place with Northern Irish club Portadown and has close working relationships with a number of other clubs.

Boro’s Head of Youth Recruitment Martin Carter said: “Our Chairman Steve Gibson's vision was to give opportunities to the players of Teesside and surrounding areas the chance to become professional footballers.

“Our recruitment has expanded, with our current Cat 1 status and we feel it's imperative we compete nationally and internationally.

“Having spent time with the staff at Bishop’s Stortford and talked at length with co-managers Jamie Cureton and Steve Smith you get a real sense of similarities in the way we deliver our programme to our players.

“They have some very talented players, who are in an excellent learning environment which will allow them to develop further.

“The energy and enthusiasm showed by everyone connected to the club was very impressive, and I think we all agree it is about creating an environment for talent to flourish.”

Bishop’s Stortford coach Jim Duggan is looking forward to working with Boro: “Myself and Jamie [Cureton] are delighted with this partnership and hope it will prove to be a real inspiration and motivation to the players at both academy and senior level.

“Being able to tap into the resources of such a fantastic club like Middlesbrough Football Club is an exciting prospect and will aid the CPD of the players but also us as coaches.”