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Benni McCarthy To Join Manchester United's First Team Coaching Staff, He's A Lifelong Fan

Jack Kenmare

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Benni McCarthy To Join Manchester United's First Team Coaching Staff, He's A Lifelong Fan

Featured Image Credit: Benni

Premier League cult hero Benni McCarthy has joined Erik ten Hag's first-team coaching staff at Manchester United.

The 44-year-old, who made over 100 appearances for Blackburn Rovers during a memorable four-year spell in England, has managed Cape Town City and Amazulu in South Africa's top division since hanging up his boots.

He was even offered the South Africa national team job last year after impressing at club level, but turned down the opportunity.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Back in March this year, McCarthy parted company with Amazulu, and has since been linked with roles at Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates – two of the biggest clubs in his native country.

But the former Ajax, FC Porto and West Ham forward has returned to England in a surprise move.

McCarthy, a lifelong Manchester United supporter who can speak four languages, has a strong friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo.

The former striker lived in Manchester during his time at Ewood Park and struck up a bond with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

McCarthy memorably helped Jose Mourinho's FC Porto side knock Manchester United out of the Champions League in 2004 after scoring two goals at the Estádio do Dragao.

He was, in his own words, "heartbroken" to score twice – and Mourinho wasn't happy about it.

“I support Man United and always wanted to play for them,” he told FourFourTwo in 2017. “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 of the Champions League.

"I got hammered after the game by Jose Mourinho because I wasn’t very happy. He told me that if I didn’t cheer up then I’d never play in his team again.”

In that very interview, McCarthy also opened up about his feelings prior to joining Blackburn in 2006.

"It was my dream to play in England," he said. "I would have chosen Everton over Real Madrid. Spanish football hadn’t existed in South Africa when I grew up.

"I had options or interest to join Manchester City, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Spurs and Liverpool, as well as Rangers in Scotland.

"When none of them came off for various reasons, I felt I was cursed never to play in England. When Blackburn came in for me, I spoke to Mourinho at Chelsea. Porto refused to sell any players to Mourinho and he advised me, 'Move to England, do well for a season and if you’re still the player I had at Porto, I’ll come and get you.'

"I did well for Blackburn, who got me for just £2.5m. Then they wouldn’t sell me to Chelsea."

Topics: Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag, Premier League, Blackburn Rovers

Jack Kenmare
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