McCourt set to return to Derry City as head of youth academy

Paddy McCourt
Paddy McCourt is currently playing for Finn Harps in the League of Ireland First Division

Paddy McCourt is set to return to the Brandywell as head of Derry City's youth academy.

The former Northern Ireland and Celtic winger, who had a successful spell as a Candystripes player from 2005-8, will take up his new post in mid-September.

The 34-year-old will continue playing for Finn Harps until then.

"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.

In his new role McCourt will oversee the progress of a range of Derry's youth teams, with each of those age groups being appointed a coach and a manager who will report into the new head of the academy.

"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," McCourt added.

"It looks like there will be plenty of work ahead, so I have notified Finn Harps that I will be retiring when my current contract is up to concentrate fully on this role."

Paddy McCourt
Paddy McCourt made 18 appearances for Northern Ireland

Derry City spokesman Sean Barrett said the club was sure they have got the right man.

"We are delighted to be bringing someone of Paddy McCourt's stature into this role," he commented.

"He is a local guy who has graced football's biggest stages and he will hopefully inspire our young boys and girls to reach for the heights that he has."

McCourt won 18 Northern Ireland caps and scored two international goals after making his debut in 2002.

He left the Brandywell for Celtic in 2008 and went on to make 66 appearances for the Glasgow giants.

He also played for Barnsley, Brighton and Hove Albion and Luton Town.