Benni McCarthy: With Erik ten Hag staying at Man United, what does the future hold for Bafana Bafana legend?

South Africa’s all-time top scorer is at crossroads following the Red Devils’ decision to stick with Dutch manager

Manchester United have finally ended the speculation over the future of manager Erik ten Hag with the Dutchman set to stay but it is still not known what it means for Benni McCarthy.

McCarthy joined United in the summer of 2022 as their attacking coach, to help improve the club’s forwards, but his two-year contract runs out this month.

It means the Bafana Bafana legend might not be working with United from next season with a number of clubs linked to him back home and abroad.

McCarthy has been linked to the vacant Kaizer Chiefs job following his spells at both Cape Town City and AmaZulu while latest reports say he has attracted interest from MLS sides and intends to jump straight into management.

United are yet to indicate if they will offer the 46-year-old a new deal, an opportunity he would likely jump at, given he is a boyhood Red Devils supporter, but that leaves him at crossroads.

Does he wait for United or continue his coaching career elsewhere?

Ten Hag could likely demand Benni’s return during contract talks 

Following two weeks of an internal review, United concluded that it is wise to stick with Ten Hag, who had a testing 2023-24 season that ended in an eighth-place finish in the Premier League, but the FA Cup victory against Manchester City seems to have changed the opinion of the decision makers.

Now, reports indicate United plan to start talks with the Dutchman over a new contract which could potentially be good news for McCarthy.

Ten Hag will likely make fresh demands before penning a new deal and that will include the composition of his backroom team of which the former South Africa striker was a major part of.

Benni McCarthy and Steve McClaren wh

It would therefore not be a surprise if McCarthy returns to Carrington next season since Ten Hag values his contribution and is the one who recommended his appointment in the first place.

McCarthy is attracting interest from MLS clubs 

However, there is also the feeling that United’s forwards did not cover themselves in glory in the just-concluded season with Rashford, who bagged 30 goals in 2022-23 to McCarthy’s credit, ending the campaign with eight, while Rasmus Hojlund managed 16.

Rashford was outscored by midfielders Bruno Fernandes (15) and Scott McTominay (10), the latter tying on goals with youngster Alejandro Garnacho. Brazilian winger Antony was a big disappointment with just three goals.

It might be argued that McCarthy did not perform his job well, hence the need to look elsewhere.

If that happens, Benni will not be short of suitors. Even though the Kaizer Chiefs job looks like it will go to Tunisian Nasreddine Nabi, the MLS is still an attractive destination for a young coach like him.

He can take encouragement from former United set-piece coach Eric Ramsay who moved Stateside and is now doing well at Minnesota United while South African compatriot Bradley Carnell has been at St Louis FC since 2022.

The MLS is also a wash with South African players in Njabulo Blom, now coached by Carnell at St Louis City, ex-Mamelodi Sundowns forward Cassius Mailula at FC Toronto, Katlego Ntshabeleng (FC Dallas), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Minnesota FC) and Olwethu Makhanya (Philadelphia Union

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Joel Oliver

Joel Oliver is a seasoned multimedia sports journalist with a rich background in covering diverse football stories and events in South Africa and beyond.

His extensive coverage spans subjects touching on the PSL, with a focus on the Big Three (Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs & Mamelodi Sundowns), Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana.