Alex Simon McCarthy (born 3 December 1989) is an English footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Southampton. A product of Reading's Academy, McCarthy spent time out on loan in the Conference before signing professional terms with the club in 2008. He made his Football League debut in 2009 whilst on loan to Aldershot Town and spent the following season at Yeovil Town before making his Reading debut in 2011. He has since spent time on loan at Leeds United and Ipswich Town. McCarthy left for Queens Park Rangers in 2014.
At international level McCarthy has represented England and made his debut for the under-21 side in 2010, appearing three times in total. In May 2013 he was called up to the senior squad for friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil although he did not make an appearance.
Born in Guildford, Surrey, McCarthy began his career as a schoolboy at Wimbledon and Wycombe Wanderers before joining Reading on a scholarship at 16. He was a regular in the Academy team for two years and was part of a group that included several future first-team players including Jem Karacan, Alex Pearce and Gylfi Sigurðsson. His first experience of senior football came in August 2007 at Woking where he made one appearance cover for the injured Nick Gindre. On 26 March 2008 he joined fellow Conference National team Cambridge United on work experience, making his debut two days later in a 3–0 defeat to Kidderminster Harriers. He made no further appearances and returned to Reading before signing his first professional contract in July 2008. McCarthy moved on loan again on 24 October 2008, joining Conference South team Team Bath as injury cover. He made his debut the next day in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round against Salisbury City and also played in the First Round defeat to Forest Green, making four appearances in total. Another short loan spell followed with McCarthy joining League Two side Aldershot Town for one month on 2 February 2009. He made his Football League debut twelve days later in a 3–2 defeat to Exeter City and played three further matches before returning to Reading at the beginning of March.
At the start of the 2009–10 season McCarthy joined League One side Yeovil on an initial six-month loan and made his debut on 8 August in a 2–0 home win over Tranmere Rovers. A month later he received the first sending-off of his career after fouling Stockport County's Nicholas Bignall who was also on loan from Reading. McCarthy's loan spell was renewed in January 2010 and again in February, before being extended for the rest of the season on 24 March. Over the course of his spell he played 44 league games and kept all twelve of Yeovil's clean sheets. Following his successful loan, McCarthy was given a new three-year contract at Reading, keeping him with the club until 2013. He again departed on loan in August 2010, joining Brentford, though he remained there for just one month before being replaced by fellow Reading loanee Ben Hamer.
McCarthy trained with the England under-19s before joining the under-21 set-up for the first time in September 2009. He received several further call-ups to the under-21s in 2009–10 and eventually made his debut as a second-half substitute against Uzbekistan in August 2010. In March 2011 he was named in a 31-man squad to face Denmark and Iceland as preparation for the European Under-21 Championship. He played a full 90 minutes in the first game and 45 in the second as England won 4–0 and lost 2–1 respectively. He travelled with the squad to championships in Denmark but did not play any games, finishing with three caps at under-21 level.
In April 2012, McCarthy was named in the 80-man longlist of potential players for the Great Britain football team at the 2012 Olympics, and in June, he made it down to the shortlist of 35 players provisionally selected for the tournament, although he did not make the final 18.
In May 2013 he was called up to the England senior team for the friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil, becoming the first Reading youth team graduate to gain a full England call-up since the Academy era began in 1998, although he did not make an appearance.