Manchester United has enjoyed a real resurgence of late, with their latest win over Manchester City taking the team to fourth on the Premier League table. Although the Red Devils have only scored 29 goals this season, Benni McCarthy has consistently come in for high praise in relation to his impact since joining the club.
By all accounts, McCarthy has quickly settled into his role as a first-team coach at United after it was officially confirmed during the pre-season that manager Erik ten Hag had added to his backroom team with the appointment of the South African soccer legend.
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In a new article that has been shared courtesy of the Manchester United media department, Ten Hag has outlined how he needed expertise in the striking department.
When asked about the 45-year-old’s influence since his arrival as the start of a special series of questions posed by fans, the manager explained the role given to the ex-striker, who is also credited with contributing to the sense of togetherness within the squad.
“In our coaching staff, we had a lot of defenders and midfield players,” said Ten Hag. “I wanted also to find a good balance. He is offensive [minded] as he is a former striker and that is also a really specific job task in the team.
“I never played there, so I’m lucky to have someone in my staff who played there. Football is about scoring and you have a goalkeeping specialist, but you also have offensive specialists and, in particular, we have a specific scoring trainer.
“He has to add that, in details, working and for the rest of us, he has a relationship to all the players in our squad. He also has to work on the togetherness and he is doing a great job on that.”
Ten Hag operated in defence or midfield during his playing days and has welcomed the input of the former South Africa international, who scored goals across his career for the likes of Ajax, Celta Vigo, Porto and Blackburn Rovers.
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McCarthy has been a trailblazer for South African coaches
One of United’s leading forwards, Anthony Martial, also recently told United Review, the official matchday programme, about working with McCarthy at Carrington.
“Yes, he’s a coach I speak with a lot,” he told us. “Both on and off the training ground. On every occasion, he gives me a lot of good advice and that can only be a good thing for all the players involved.”