Grant Leadbitter has penned an emotional letter to Sunderland fans upon his departure and says he's going to take time to 'consider his options'.

35-year-old Leadbitter ended his second spell at the club after the Black Cats opted not to offer the midfielder a new contract. 

In total, Leadbitter made 210 appearances in all competitions across two spells at the club and scored 18 goals. 

He played his last game in the red and white of Sunderland in their play-off semi final second leg against Lincoln City.

"Sunderland fans, first of all, an apology. I'd have loved to have helped the deliver Premier League football back to Wearside during my second spell, never mind promotion to the Championship" Leadbitter said on his official Instagram account. 

"But thank you, you will always be in my heart. 

"It would have been perfect to have finished my time back at the Stadium of Light with promotion but it wasn't to be.

"There are disappointments, of course there are, but there are great memories too throughout my time playing for Sunderland over both spells.

"I have learned so much during my second spell at the club, some good some bad, and I will always learn from such experiences. 

"I will remember captaining the team one last time, with fans back at the stadium for the play-off second leg, and the incredible noise you created on Saturday. 

"We fell short in succeeding. Hopefully that can be achieved next year, the loudest cheers coming from me, celebrating as a fan. 

"It's almost two-and-a-half years since I rejoined Sunderland where it all started as a 6-year-old and I will always be immensely proud to have worn the red and white in every game I played.

"It has meant the world to me and my family. I will always remember the few people at the club who helped me through some tough times personally last year, that will stay with me. 

"I am now going to enjoy a break with my family, consider my options and decide my next step. I haven't decided yet. 

"Sunderland was the club I supported as a schoolboy, where my career started and I will always love the club. 

"Please support the young players coming through next season and help them develop.

"The good times will be back."

Sunderland released Leadbitter, Max Power, Chris Maguire, Callum MacFadzean, Conor McLaughlin, Josh Scowen and Remi Matthews last week as part of their retained list.