PADDY McCourt has announced he will call time on his distinguished playing career at the end of the season to concentrate on transforming Derry City's youth academy.
The former Celtic and Northern Ireland star was officially unveiled on Monday afternoon as the Candy Stripes' new Youth Development Officer - a role which will oversee the Brandywell club's underage teams from U13s to U19s.
And McCourt is 'relishing' his return to a club 'very close to my heart' and is looking forward to getting started in September once he hangs up his boots.
“I’m really happy to be coming back to Derry City and in particular to have the opportunity to oversee this new development programme,” he 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.
“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.
"It's a club that's very close to my heart," he added. "I'm very excited about the new role and can't wait to get my feet into it come September, October time.
"In the meantime I'll work alongside Kenny Shiels and see how we can improve and make it the best place for young players to develop. What I'll do between now and the end of the season is come in and assess things.
"There'll be no rash changes or big changes between now and the end of the year. We'll assess things and see how we can make it better moving forward.,
"When the season finishes I'll be retiring to take on the role full-time."
City spokesman Sean Barrett added that 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 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.”