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Former Celtic star Paddy McCourt to head up Derry City's youth academy

By Adam McKendry

Former Celtic and Northern Ireland star Paddy McCourt will make a sensational return to former club Derry City as the Head of their Youth Academy.

The Brandywell club have undergone a major overhaul to their underage systems, and have brought in McCourt to try and improve the development pathways at the club.

The 34-year old, who made 96 appearances for the Candystripes, has been brought in to try and revitalise a youth system that is struggling to provide young talent to the Derry squad.

McCourt met with manager Kenny Shiels and club representatives last week to discuss the role, which will involve him overseeing all of Derry's underage teams, who will all have managers appointed to them that will report to McCourt.

The former Northern Ireland international has long held a desire to go into coaching when he retires from playing, something he has already done to a limited extent at Club NI and with the launch of his Talent and Development Academy.

McCourt will begin his new role in mid-September after he retires from playing, with the club saying in a statement that they feel he is the best man for the job due to his experience, profile and ambition.

"I’m really happy to be coming back to Derry City and in particular to have the opportunity to oversee this new development programme," McCourt said.

"The club has identified an area where they feel more work is needed to secure the future of the younger players as they come through the ranks and it is a challenge I am relishing."

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