Durban - Bafana Bafana legend Benni McCarthy is “excited” to now be a first team coach at Manchester United. The 44-year-old was confirmed as a new recruit of the Red Devils during the weekend and will form part of United’s technical team under new tactician Erik Ten Hag.
“I’m excited and happy to be here. I hope to push, change the mindset and really try to make a difference to United this season. During my playing days, I used to get off the pitch at Old Trafford with my tail between my legs because we always got a hiding,” said McCarthy.
United have underachieved since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. They have not won a league title since and struggled for consistency. McCarthy feels that new boss Ten Hag brings something “different”.
“The mentality around the club is just different. Ten Hag brings something that is different. Hopefully this season we see a revived United that will challenge for Champions League qualification and give the likes of Manchester City a run for their money,” said McCarthy.
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Meanwhile, Ten Hag confirmed he was looking to add to his technical team and found McCarthy fitted the bill of someone he wanted on his backroom staff.
“There was still one place in our coaching staff that I wanted to fill. Someone with a different voice and Benni is that one. He has experience as a manager. He was a coach in the professional level and he was a former striker, a really successful striker as well,” added Ten Hag.
Former Ajax Amsterdam manager Ten Hag also elaborated on McCarthy’s role at the club.
“He will focus on the positioning and attacking. I’m not saying only the strikers but also the integration from the full-backs and midfielders. Our way of play has to be dynamic,” said Ten Hag.
Ten Hag will be familiar with McCarthy. The duo played against each other when McCarthy started his career in the Dutch Eredivisie with Ajax in the late 1990s.
McCarthy is also no stranger to English football. He played in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers and West Ham. He scored 18 league goals for Rovers during the 2006/07 season. It was the second most in the league that season behind Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, who found the back of the net 20 times.