- Benni McCarthy was appointed as a first-team coach at Manchester United.
- He is in charge of coaching the strikers.
- His impact, together wth Erik ten Hag, has been incredible, improving the fortunes of the Red Devils after a turbulent 2021-22 season.
When Benedict Saul McCarthy, whom we popularly know as Benni McCarthy, was axed from his position as the head coach of South African football club Amazulu FC, few thought he would bounce back by landing a lucrative coaching position in the English Premier League. Few would have thought an elite club such as Manchester United FC, with its rich football historical heritage and gargantuan global fanbase, would express interest in him—and actually hire him.
What Benni McCarthy has proved to the world is that his footballing intellectual prowess as a coach is top-notch, and that on a global level, his admirable coaching skills are in high demand. And with this, one can safely say Benni McCarthy is living the dream—after having been appointed as a first-team coach at Manchester United on 30 July 2022.
Ever since his arrival, and closely working together with the head coach Erik ten Hag, Manchester United has metamorphosed into the formidable team it is widely known for; the formidability that earned the club the “Red Devils” name.
Benni McCarthy is a South African football coach and former player; boasting of an illustrious playing career both in South Africa and Europe. He was born in Cape Town, and grew up in the emaciated and immiserated Cape Flats—an area of Cape Town infamous for its staggering high rates of unemployment and enervating gang violence.
His first exploits as a talented football player were at South African side Seven Stars (it no longer exists). This earned him a transfer to Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie, and later on he played at Celta Vigo (Spain), FC Porto (Portugal), Blackburn Rovers (England), and West Ham United (England). After notable displays and triumphs in Europe, he joined Orlando Pirates (South Africa) in 2011, and retired from playing in 2013. In his international career, Benni McCarthy is South Africa’s all-time top-scorer with 31 goals in 79 appearances.
His managerial career started with an assistant coaching role at Sint-Truiden (Belgium); and head-coach roles at Cape Town City and Amazulu FC. In July 2022, he was appointed as a first-team coach at Manchester United, where he is tasked with the club’s forward line.
And his impact at Manchester United, under the leadership of Erik ten Hag, has been incredible. A former forward, McCarthy is widely credited for the sharp improvement seen in Marcus Rashford in the 2022-23 season. McCarthy’s prolific traits as a striker (in the 2006/7 season he finished second to Didier Drogba in the race for the Golden Boot, with 37 goals for Blackburn Rovers) have been palpable at Old Trafford.
Benni McCarthy is popular among the Red Devils’ players, and he is known for “keeping everybody happy and together”. As the srikers’ coach, McCarthy helped Manchester United in winning the Carabao Cup and securing a top four finish (thereby qualifying for the UEFA Champions League).
McCarthy speaks four languages. These are English, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese, and such an ability gives him a great edge and effectivesness when communicating with the players.
On certain matchdays at Old Trafford, fans can been heard chanting Benni McCarthy’s name. He has made Manchester United’s strike-force more confident and direct, and such an improvement and impact were mostly conspicuous on Marcus Rashford. And this was through “one-on-one” sessions that also improved Rashford’s heading skills.
In November 2022, Rashford remarked, with a flair of ebullience, “He’s definitely helped me a lot. To have attack-minded coaches is good for us. He’s always there speaking to us about these things.”
As the new Premier League season beckons, Manchester United fans can only hope for more improvement, more results, and, certainly, more trophies.