Benni McCarthy earning huge respect at Manchester United

Often regarded as one of the greatest ever South African footballers, once the time came for Benni McCarthy to hang up his boots as a player, an equally promising career in coaching beckoned. Now part of an impressive revival at Manchester United, his influence at the club is being rewarded with glowing praise.

Remarkable professional football journey

Thanks to his 31 goals in 81 appearances, McCarthy remains the all-time record scorer for the South African national team, setting a benchmark that will take some beating. He also enjoyed a successful club career, making his breakthrough at Dutch side Ajax, before a spell in Spain with Celta Vigo, then a triumphant period in Portugal with FC Porto.

McCarthy won the UEFA Champions League in 2003-04, when FC Porto were still under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, during what was undoubtedly the crowning moment of his career. Unable to resist the opportunity to play in England, joining Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2006, going on to score 52 goals in 140 appearances in all competitions.

But finding the back of the net became something of a struggle, after McCarthy signed for West Ham United in 2010, failing to score in any of his 11 appearances. Upon concluding his 14-year spell in European football, McCarthy headed home to South Africa to finish his career with Orlando Pirates, where he was affectionately called “Big Brother” by adoring fans.

Devoting knowledge and experience to coaching

Having lived in the Scottish city of Edinburg since 2013, McCarthy began the next chapter of his career in football with Hibernian, when they offered a pathway into coaching in 2015. This was followed by a spell with Belgian team Sint-Truidense, progressing through the UEFA Coaching Badges system, earning important qualifications required in the modern game.

The acid test for McCarthy came with returning to South Africa, joining Cape Town City as their head coach. Between June 2017 and November 2019, he guided them to winning the MTN 8 cup 2018, although that success ultimately proved hard to repeat. McCarthy was fired after his team won just 2 of their opening 18 games in 2019.

Fortunes were more favourable after McCarthy joined AmaZulu, becoming their head coach in December 2020. He led the team to second in the DStv Premiership, the highest position ever attained by the club, accompanied by a campaign in the 2021-22 CAF Champions League. He parted ways with AmaZulu in March 2022, although an intriguing opportunity quickly followed in England.

McCarthy tasked as ‘scoring trainer’ at Manchester United

When he was hired as manager of Manchester United, one thing was clear in the mind of Erik ten Hag, focused on assembling his new coaching team. Someone with valuable scoring experience was required, given the Dutchman acknowledged that a special set of skills and focus was needed, which led him to the recruitment of McCarthy.

Speaking with the official MUFC website, Ten Hag said “we have a specific scoring trainer” in the shape of McCarthy, adding that he felt “lucky” to have the South African as one of his colleagues. “He gives me a lot of good advice and that can only be a good thing for all the players involved,” the United boss enthused.

Most importantly, the attacking coaching McCarthy provides is already paying dividends, especially for players like Marcus Rashford. The England forward has been in stellar form of late, scoring in his last nine consecutive home games at Old Trafford, equalling a Manchester United club record set back in 1959 by Dennis Viollet.

Red Devils chasing the Premier League title

Given how impressively Manchester United have performed in recent months, bookmakers are cautiously shortening their Premier League odds, amidst the genuine prospect of a serious bid for the title. Due to their current lead at the top, Arsenal are firm favourites at the moment, closely followed by Manchester City.

But with restored confidence now surrounding the Red Devils, many punters are wise to compare all the odds available, based upon the latest SBO expert advice and guides. Their focus is recommending only the best betting sites, via hundreds of independent and impartial bookie reviews, alongside highlighting the most competitive bonuses and promotions.

Remarkably, in his first season working with the attacking players, McCarthy appears to be a key figure helping towards genuine improvements. His efforts and those of the players could well be rewarded, given that United remain active in four competitions. Having previously gone five consecutive seasons without silverware, the trophy drought could be about to end, all with the assistance of a cherished South African footballing legend.

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