There has been no shortage of Hull City academy graduates making the grade in recent seasons, with Jarrod Bowen, Dan Batty and Robbie McKenzie all playing key roles in the first-team squad this term.

That has not always been the case in the last decade, though, as a host of youngsters headed for the exit in attempt to further their careers.

Some have struggled to make the grade in senior football but plenty have thrived away from the KCOM Stadium. Here’s a combined XI of City’s best academy players to have flown the nest in the last decade.

Goalkeeper: Rory Watson

Current club: Scunthorpe United; Career appearances: 80

The York-born keeper was always earmarked as one capable of making the grade but was only ever able to make it as far as City’s bench in senior football.

Loans with Gainsborough and North Ferriby United brought experience and the faith of Scunthorpe United, who signed for the Iron in January 2017. The 24-year-old has made 26 appearances in all competitions this season.

Full-back: Josh Tymon

Current club: Stoke City; Career appearances: 40

The left-back became City’s youngest player for a generation when debuting in the FA Cup win away to Bury in January 2016 and inside a year he had made his first appearance in the Premier League.

Josh Tymon up against Manchester United's Jesse Lingard in the EFL Cup semi-final
Josh Tymon up against Manchester United's Jesse Lingard in the EFL Cup semi-final

City’s inability to tie the England youth international down on an extended deal triggered his exit in the summer of 2017 but he is yet to really make a mark on Stoke City.

The 19-year-old spent the first of the season on loan with Portuguese side Famalicao.

Centre-back: Liam Cooper

Current club: Leeds United; Career appearances: 302

Another former Malet Lambert High School pupil and another to make the grade at the age of 16. The centre-back was given chances by Phil Brown, Nigel Pearson and Nick Barmby but the arrival of Steve Bruce triggered his departure to join Chesterfield in 2013.

Cooper has barely looked back and is now the captain of a Leeds United side that will hope to clinch automatic promotion to the Premier League once the Championship season is cleared to resume.

Centre-back: Sonny Bradley

Current club: Luton Town; Career appearances: 359

The imposing centre-back only started one game for the Tigers before flying the nest in 2013 but he has crafted a reputation as a talented defender in the lower leagues during spells with Portsmouth, Crawley and Plymouth.

Sonny Bradley, pictured in a pre-season friendly away to Chesterfield, spent 14 years on Hull City's books
Sonny Bradley, pictured in a pre-season friendly away to Chesterfield, spent 14 years on Hull City's books

A move to Luton Town in 2018 has taken his career to new heights and having helped them win the League One title last season, Bradley has been a near ever-present in the Championship this term.

Full-back: Connor Townsend

Current club: West Brom; Career appearances: 236

The Hessle lad only ever made one appearance for his hometown club when coming off the bench to face Leyton Orient in 2013 but he has responded well to the rejection with a climb back into the Championship.

City were keen to bring Townsend back to the KCOM Stadium in summer of 2018 after his stellar performances for Scunthorpe United but it was West Brom who won the race for his signature. The left-back could yet end this season celebrating promotion to the top-flight.

Centre midfield: Max Clark

Current club: Vitesse Arnhem; Career appearances: 123

The East Hull lad has become an orthodox left-back in recent times but initially started out at City as a central midfielder.

Two loan spells were spent with Cambridge United in League Two before the 2017-18 campaign brought the reward of 30 appearances for his hometown club.

Hull City under-21s' class of 2016
Hull City under-21s' class of 2016

A failure to agree terms on an extended deal brought his exit at the end of that season but he has since found another level with Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie, the Dutch top-flight.

Centre-midfield: Nicky Featherstone

Current club: Hartlepool United; Career appearances: 409

Phil Brown had high hopes for the Goole-born midfielder, first introducing him to the Championship in 2007. A small part was played in the promotion year that followed but by 2010 he had flown the nest to join to Hereford.

Two years were spent with Walsall but it has been with Hartlepool where Featherstone has enjoyed his longest spell. The 31-year-old made over 200 appearances for the National League side.

Right midfield: Jarrod Bowen

Current club: West Ham United; Career appearances: 143

Unlike some on this list, City can at least take comfort from the knowledge they got the very best from Bowen after adding him to their under-18s ranks in 2014.

The right-winger scored 54 goals in all competitions for the Tigers during a golden two-and-a-half-year period that ensured he would be destined to play at a higher level.

West Ham provided that platform when striking a deal that could be worth up to £22m in January.

Attacking midfield: Tom Cairney

Current club: Fulham; Career appearances: 362

Picked up by City after his release from Leeds United, the midfield soon earned a reputation as the next big thing in the club’s academy.

Tom Cairney celebrating scoring his first Premier League goal
Tom Cairney celebrating scoring his first Premier League goal

A goal on his debut against Southend in August 2009 beefed up expectations before he eventually made 80 appearances for the Tigers. City’s promotion to the Premier League in 2013 effectively brought about a move to Blackburn, where his stalled career again took off.

Four years with Fulham have again taken Cairney to the Premier League and even back in the Championship he remains an excellent talent.

Left midfield: Will Atkinson

Current club: Port Vale; Career appearances: 416

Regarded by some as the most technically skilled player to have graduated through City’s academy in recent years, Atkinson was part of the crop that burst on to the scene at the end of the 2009-10 Premier League season.

The local boy’s impact did not last after making only eight appearances for the Tigers but he has gone on to enjoy a fine career that peaked with Bradford City’s remarkable run to the League Cup final. Currently with Port Vale, who he joined as a free agent last October.

Centre forward: Mark Cullen

Current club: Port Vale; Career appearances: 283

The Ashington-born striker had been rejected by Newcastle United by the time he arrived at Hull City aged 16 but he was soon turned into an exciting prospect.

Mark Cullen celebrates scoring in Hull City's last trip to the DW Stadium in May 2010
Mark Cullen celebrates scoring in Hull City's 2-2 draw at Wigan in May 2010

That was underlined when he scored on his full Premier League debut away to Wigan Athletic in May 2010 and though it failed to work out for Cullen with the Tigers, he has gone on to win promotions with both Luton Town and Blackpool.

The 26-year-old has scored eight goals on loan at Port Vale this season.