Jadon Sancho appears to disagree with Erik ten Hag over Benni McCarthy

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Erik ten Hag seemed to downplay the role of Benni McCarthy in the improvement of Manchester United’s strikers. And that stance contradicts a request made by Red Devils forward Jadon Sancho earlier in 2023. 

McCarthy’s work has been widely discussed this season due to the excellent form of Marcus Rashford. Former Blackburn and West Ham striker McCarthy was brought by Ten Hag last summer to work with United’s attackers. 

His arrival has coincided with Rashford’s incredible performances. The England man scored his 30th goal of the season for club and country in United’s 1-0 win over Real Betis on Thursday. 

But Ten Hag has insisted that the upturn in form of the forward is down to the work of all coaches – not just McCarthy. Ten Hag said: “It’s a question of balance. It’s not just about Benni McCarthy. Everyone has specific tasks, we work together, it’s a whole, it’s not just one person.”

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However, at the start of 2023, the Daily Mail reported that United talent Sancho requested one-to-one sessions with McCarthy. Sancho – who has struggled for consistency since joining United in 2021 – had seen Rashford’s improvement and wanted to see if McCarthy could raise his game, too. 

It suggests that Ten Hag might have underestimated how valuable some of the players believe McCarthy to be. The South African recently explained how his very specific role with United’s strikers works. 

“Coordinating movements and finishing and making sure that the guys are sharp and that they’re ready and that the goalscoring continues and that they get the right goal scoring boots on. That will be my function.”

And it is not just Sancho who has been impressed by McCarthy. The in-form Rashford spoke glowingly about the former Premier League marksman, whose only previous coaching experience was in his home country. 

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“He’s done a good job. Obviously, it can be tough with getting a full group of new coaches but everyone settled in really quickly,” Rashford told South African channel SuperSport.

“I feel like since Benni has come in we’ve worked more as a team going forward which has led to us creating more chances of scoring goals. He keeps pushing us, he keeps trying to get us to improve.”

He added: “Benni has been great with me and all the forward lads. You have to remember that Benni is part of a full coaching system.

“Everyone plays their little role and for the forward lads, Benni is that extra bit on top that we need. His relationship with me is good. We speak a lot. We are always analysing the games.”

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