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      A fan favourite, commanding captain and model professional, former defender Paddy McCarthy has been associated with Crystal Palace for almost 15 years, having first joined the club in the summer of 2008.

      Born in Dublin, McCarthy came through Manchester City’s academy in the early 2000s, establishing his reputation as a tough-tackling centre-back during spells in the Championship with Leicester City – where he was named club captain at the age of just 23 – and Charlton Athletic.

      After just one season at The Valley, McCarthy made the short move to Crystal Palace where, despite his playing time being curtailed by a shoulder injury, his on- and off-the-field leadership qualities soon became apparent, resulting in him being named Club captain ahead of the 2010/11 campaign.

      McCarthy would go on to play all but six of his side’s league fixtures during 2010/11 and 2011/12. While then injured for the entirety of Palace’s 2012/13 promotion season, the Irish defender remained an influential figure in SE25, making 151 appearances across eight seasons in south London.

      After retiring from playing in 2016, McCarthy secured his UEFA Pro Licence and was appointed Under-18s coach at Palace in December of the same year, guiding the youth team – which included a young Tyrick Mitchell – to third place in Professional Development League 2. The following season, under McCarthy, his age group won the title.

      The awarding of Category 1 status to Crystal Palace’s Academy in 2020 saw Palace promoted to U18 Premier League South in 2020/21, with McCarthy’s team finishing runners-up to Fulham only on goal difference in their first season at that level.

      McCarthy was subsequently promoted to Under-23s Head Coach in summer 2021 and, alongside assistant Darren Powell, managed the newly-promoted development squad to an impressive fifth-place finish in their first season of Premier League 2 Division 1 football.

      As of mid-March 2023, McCarthy and Palace’s Under-21s are on course to better that result, sitting fourth in Premier League 2 with just seven matches of the season left to play.