Former striker Benni McCarthy is ready to help Erik ten Hag “make the difference” to Manchester United this season.
The 44-year-old’s appointment as a first-team coach was announced on Saturday and, by Sunday afternoon, he was soaking up the atmosphere of an Old Trafford matchday – this time as a member of United staff, instead of as an opposition player for Blackburn Rovers, Porto and West Ham United.
“I used to come off this pitch with my tail between my legs because I always used to get a hiding here!” quipped McCarthy, during a brief chat with MUTV’s Niall McCaughan and two former Reds in Wes Brown and Quinton Fortune.
“I’m just excited and happy to be here. How can you not be when you’re standing in the Theatre of Dreams?”
As the last coach to join Ten Hag’s backroom team ahead of the 2022/23 season, McCarthy will work closely with the new manager and his other summer appointments, Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag.
Speaking about his role, the South African said: “[I want to] help these young players, push them, change their mindset and really try to make the difference to United this season.”
“Hopefully this season we’re going to see a completely revived United, a hungry bunch of players and a team that’s going to be able to challenge to get into the Champions League and change the dynamics of the Man Citys and Liverpools.”
Sunday’s first-team friendly featured a host of talented youngsters from United’s Academy, with Tahith Chong, James Garner, Alejandro Garnacho and Ethan Laird all selected for a rare start in a senior fixture.
They were followed into the fray by peers Isak Hansen-Aaroen, Hannibal, Zidane Iqbal and Shola Shoretire, all of whom came off the bench where McCarthy was sitting among the other coaches.
“There is no bigger stage than this and to be here is a privilege. They must just grasp the opportunity,” said Benni.
“When you get the smallest chance that you get, you must grab it with both hands.”