Benni McCarthy is living Man Utd dream after salary decision, meeting and special ability
Earlier in the week, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag hailed Benni McCarthy. And the South African is clearly living his dream at Old Trafford, having helped to transform Marcus Rashford in the time since his appointment. Having grown up admiring the Red Devils, his current job potentially means more to him than any other throughout his career.
Ahead of United’s 1-0 win over Real Betis on Thursday night, Ten Hag hailed McCarthy for the work he’s done at the training ground this season.
"I think the most important is the way of playing, that gives him a base, gives him a structure, the way of play is in his favor because I knew his skills and then you also being staff around who can make it better and make it progress," he said when asked about the 25-year-old and his improved form.
“I thought we needed one on the staff who is specific and responsible for strikers, Benni is doing a good job.
“I think the staff has a good balance and we do it together, it's not only about Benni McCarthy, all have specific jobs in our staff.
“There's a good vibe, they challenge each other, it's a total package, and it's not about one person."
For McCarthy, the praise will likely delight him.
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The South African was hired back in the summer because Ten Hag wanted somebody to help his players improve going forward.
And McCarthy was never going to say no, having long been a fan of the Red Devils - despite once scoring twice against them for Porto in the Champions League back in 2004.
It emerged last month the 45-year-old didn’t even ask about his salary before accepting the offer to join United.
That speaks volumes about him and his fondness for the club.
McCarthy got the job after impressing during a trial after holding some training sessions with the club’s Under-23s side.
Robin van Persie had previously been considered, yet the Dutchman opted to remain in the Netherlands with Feyenoord instead.
A meeting was then set up with McCarthy’s agent, Ten Hag and football director John Murtough.
Soon, it became clear he was the right man to be brought on board - with his Premier League experience and track record of improving players also a factor.
McCarthy speaks English, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese, too.
And that ability has helped him manage a dressing room that, last season, was splintered beyond repair.
Rashford has been particularly reinvigorated since the arrival of McCarthy, with the United star scoring 27 goals across all competitions.
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He’s just three away from the 30 Van Persie struck in the 2012/2013 season, with the Red Devils hero the last player to reach such a dizzying number.
And Rashford, too, has been quick to praise the South African for the impact he’s had on his game.
"He's done a good job,” the 25-year-old said recently.
“Obviously, it can be tough with getting a full group of new coaches but everyone settled in really quickly.
"I feel like since Benni has come in we've worked more as a team going forward which has lead to us creating more chances of scoring goals.
“He keeps pushing us, he keeps trying to get us to improve."
He added: "Benni has been great with me and all the forward lads. You have to remember that Benni is part of a full coaching system.
"Everyone plays their little role and for the forward lads, Benni is that extra bit on top that we need.
"His relationship with me is good. We speak a lot. We are always analysing the games."
United, ahead of today’s match against Fulham, remain in contention to win a treble.
And McCarthy will be working hard to ensure the Red Devils boost their chances of adding more winners medals to their collections, having helped them secure the Carabao Cup trophy last month.