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19th Mar 2023

The rising Irish coach in contention to take over at Crystal Palace

Rory Fleming

Paddy McCarthy is under consideration by the Eagles’ board to become their next manager.

Former Ireland underage international Paddy McCarthy is set to take charge of Crystal Palace’s daunting trip to face table-topping Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.

The 39-year-old had been coaching the South London club’s Under 21 side, but has been instated as interim manager following Patrick Vieira’s controversial dismissal on Friday.

Vieira had been in charge at Selhurst Park since 2021. (Credit: Getty Images)

Vieira had endured a torrid time in recent months, having overseen an 11 game winless run which has seen the Eagles pick up just five points since the turn of the year.

However, Burnley manager and former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany leapt to Vieira’s defence, joining a number of former players and pundits who feel the former Arsenal invincible has been dealt with harshly given Palace’s recent schedule and current league position.

“It doesn’t sit well with me”, said Kompany, before the former centre half added “actually what you have done is taken out a manager who is overachieving no matter which way you want to turn it”.

Paddy McCarthy has played for the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Charlton. (Credit: Getty Images)

Who is Paddy McCarthy?

A product of the Manchester City academy, McCarthy enjoyed spells at Leicester City and Charlton, before moving to Crystal Palace in 2008.

The Dublin-born centre half went on to make over 130 league appearances over the course of 8 seasons at Selhurst Park, with McCarthy also earning the captaincy ahead of the 2010/11 season.

The interim Palace boss also featured for Ireland at numerous underage groups, and although he never managed a senior cap, he did appear once for Republic of Ireland B and also earned a 2009 senior call up under Giovanni Trapattoni.

Paddy McCarthy chases down compatriot Kevin Doyle in his playing days. (Credit: Getty Images)

Upon retiring in 2016, McCarthy began his coaching journey with Crystal Palace under 18’s, working his way up to the role of under 21’s head coach over the course of the next six seasons.

Speaking ahead of his maiden Premier League managerial experience, the 39-year-old said “Obviously it’s a massive moment for myself, but ultimately it’s not about me”.

“The focus is solely on setting the game plan and implementing that on Sunday…there’s definite quality in the group, and we just have to try our best to get that out of them”, the Raheny native added.

Palace face a daunting trip to table-topping Arsenal on Sunday. (Credit: Getty Images)

Three points is not the only prize on the line for McCarthy on Sunday though, who is very highly thought of by the Crystal Palace hierarchy.

According to David Ornstein of The Athletic, a result at the Emirates Stadium could persuade the board at Selhurst Park to stick with McCarthy until at least the end of the season.

Should the Irishman prove successful in beating out the rumoured contenders such as former Palace and Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson, then he would become the first Irish Premier League manager since Chris Hughton’s sacking at Brighton in 2019.

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