MANCHESTER. — Manchester United have hired former Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy as a first team coach.
In fact, Manchester United have appointed former West Ham flop McCarthy as a strikers coach for the new season.
McCarthy is best remembered for his time in England for his spell at Blackburn Rovers – where he earned the unenviable tag of a one-season wonder. The South African failed to reignite that form, and he struggled after moving to Upton Park.
However, McCarthy once knocked the Red Devils out of the Champions League as Jose Mourinho’s young Porto side went on to conquer Europe. McCarthy bagged twice against united as the Special One pulled off one of football’s greatest upsets.
McCarthy, who has coaching experience in his homeland, will link up with Erik ten Hag’s new-look coaching staff.
The South African will focus his work on the forwards, and he will be tasked with aiding United’s stars with their positioning and finishing. McCarthy is also a close friend of Ten Hag’s assistant Mitchell van der Gaag.
McCarthy will join Van der Gaag and Steve McClaren as the new faces in Manchester.
The 44-year-old was pictured at United’s Carrington training base on Saturday and is set to join ten Hag’s backroom staff immediately with a view to working with the club’s forwards.
McCarthy, a former South Africa international, won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho’s management during his time at Porto and enjoyed a productive spell at Rovers during Mark Hughes’ time at Ewood Park.
Formerly of Ajax as well, McCarthy speaks four different languages and had been working as a manager in South Africa’s top division at Cape Town City and Amazulu.
McCarthy will be charged with working with an elite group of forwards, which is increasingly likely to include Cristiano Ronaldo, but his role will not be restricted to working with one department of Ten Hag’s first team squad.
Ronaldo missed Saturday’s friendly in Oslo as it was decided he would be left behind in Manchester to concentrate on building up his fitness.
The 37-year-old has missed the entirety of pre-season, officially due to family issues, amid relentless speculation over his future.
Ronaldo held showdown talks with Ten Hag and senior club officials in midweek and now appears likely to remain judging by his recent social media activity, despite claims he wants to leave for a club playing in the Champions League.
The former Real Madrid superstar appears to have a shortage of viable escape routes, however, with a number of high-profile clubs ruling themselves out of the running, while Ronaldo confirmed he was set to feature in Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.
Aside from Ronaldo, McCarthy will work with Marcus Rashford, looking to bounce back from a disappointing 12 months, and an apparently rejuvenated Anthony Martial.
The France international was deemed surplus to requirements by Ralf Rangnick in January and endured a disappointing loan spell at Sevilla.
Martial has been handed an unlikely chance to rebuild his United career by Ten Hag, in part due to Ronaldo’s absence, and impressed in the recent wins over Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace.
McCarthy is a self-proclaimed United, fan and he admitted it hurt to score against the Red Devils: “I support Man United and always wanted to play for them.
“I loved players like Mark Hughes, Andy Cole and Ryan Giggs. So I was heartbroken to score twice. My dream was to score once at Old Trafford — not to knock United out.
“I got hammered by Jose Mourinho after the game because I wasn’t very happy. He told me that if I didn’t cheer up, I’d never play in his team again.” — Metro.