Manchester United are set to appoint former Porto, West Ham and Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy as a first-team coach in Erik ten Hag’s backroom staff.
McCarthy has been managing at club level in his native South Africa over the last five years and was named South African Premier League Coach of the Year in 2020/21 for his work at Amazulu.
The 44-year-old already shares common ground with Ten Hag, having first made his name in Europe during a successful spell at Ajax in the late 1990s. He went on to win the UEFA Champions League under Jose Mourinho at Porto in 2004, scoring twice to knock out his imminent new employers.
In 2006, McCarthy moved to England with Blackburn and scored 18 goals in his debut season.
A report from The Athletic notes that McCarthy had a good relationship with a then young Cristiano Ronaldo, who will return to action for United on Sunday against Rayo Vallecano after missing most of pre-season, during his previous time in the north west.
McCarthy has been a United fan all his life and grew idolising the likes of Mark Hughes, Andy Cole and Ryan Giggs in the 1990s.
It is expected that McCarthy, who helped South Africa qualify for their first ever World Cup in 1998 and again in 2002, will focus on working with United’s forwards.
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Ten Hag brought assistant coach Mitchel van Gaag with him to Old Trafford when he first arrived in Manchester. The new boss also insisted on being reunited with former assistant, long-time confidant and ex-United assistant manager Steve McClaren.
The Dutchman suffered his first defeat in charge on Saturday in a friendly against Atletico Madrid in Norway, having previously overseen victories against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace, as well as a draw against Aston Villa.
United’s final pre-season friendly and Ten Hag’s first game at Old Trafford will be played on Sunday when the aforementioned Rayo Vallecano are the visitors.