He’s in Switzerland, training 12 times a week, and preparing to secure a bronze medal in the world’s largest sporting event for disabled people. At his age, most teenagers have more trivial concerns, but McCrea is completely laid back, punctuating his sentences with a laugh and talking football.
“It has to be [Wilfried] Zaha,” he says without pausing when asked for his standout player. “He’s the main man at Palace. I remember watching Alan Lee, [Mile] Jedinak was probably one of the outstanding ones. I remember the play-off final, saw him there.
“[Yannick] Bolasie, I miss him a lot at Palace and wish he was still there, but you know, that’s how it is. Bolasie and Zaha were some of the craziest players; so good to watch, especially in real life.”
McCrea’s Palace fandom began long before he was born in Croydon Hospital, with his father and grandfather both supporting the club.
“I don’t know how far back but my grandad supported since young and went to all the games. My dad got introduced by his dad and I got introduced. My first game was Palace v Yeovil when we had Alan Lee up front [a 1-0 League Cup win, with Lee netting in the 90th-minute]. My biggest game when I was younger was the Watford play-off final and since then I’ve been going all the time.”
Typically McCrea, who swims for Switzerland, would fly his colours across the globe and take a Palace top in World or European Championship tournaments. But - as well as being hampered by sponsorship commitments - this summer demands the most serious approach.