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International Rescue Could Aid Mccarthy’s Chelsea Ambitions

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Cody Strunk

Although Cody Strunk may have a name more in keeping with those who don low-quality knitwear on USA golf courses, his passion is very much for the beautiful game...
[full biography]
15/05/2007 08:00:00.
read: 1054 times.

"I love being here. Blackburn were persistent and it was always my dream to play in England. If I did well and a big club came in for me, it would be up to Blackburn. But if they want me to stay, I'll stay. Blackburn's wish is my command. I want to stay loyal to them, they gave me my chance." Those were the words of striker Benni McCarthy back in October.

It would therefore have come as something of a disappointment to Blackburn supporters when quotes attributed to the South African in the media last week gave a strong indication that he was now angling for a move to Chelsea that would reunite him with his former Porto boss, Jose Mourinho.

McCarthy, after an excellent first season in the Premiership, could well appeal to Mourinho, assuming the Portuguese manager is still in charge at Stamford Bridge next term, particularly with Andriy Shevchenko’s Chelsea future looking less than clear and with Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou likely to be away with the Ivory Coast on African Nations Cup duty mid-season. There is even the possibility that teenage striker Ben Sahar could be called up for national service with the Israeli army when he turns 18 later this year.

Of course, McCarthy could be on African Nations Cup duty himself early next year, although he did ask last year not to be selected for the South African national side after getting his transfer to Blackburn. South Africa's new Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has indicated that he is confident he can persuade his country's top player to return to the international fold, but McCarthy would seem unlikely to jeopardise a move to a top club playing Champions League football for the sake of a few games with the Bafana Bafana in Ghana.

McCarthy last played for South Africa at the African Nations Cup finals in Egypt in 2006 (although even his attendance there was in doubt until the last moment). It could be argued that he will be more inclined to go this time in order to cement his place in Parreira’s World Cup plans on home soil in 2010 but, so limited are the options available to coach, McCarthy knows that he is more or less guaranteed a starting role come the World Cup whatever he decides to do in the meantime.

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes has attempted to play down the speculation, suggesting that McCarthy’s original quotes to a Portuguese newspaper may have been taken out of context. Having lost Craig Bellamy after just a season at Ewood Park last summer, Hughes could certainly do without losing another key striker as he plans for next season.

Latest article feedback

J D Smith:

 News that Chelsea may be interested in McCarthy is good news for Chelsea fans. He has played very well for Blackburn and would be a good acqusition. However, news that they are considering the Boro Oz striker Viduka is beyond me. He would be the last person I would think that they want. He is very lazy and plays one good game a month if he is fit, which he often is not. Can't imagine him chsing back when the other team is attacking. No thanks. But McCarthy definite yes. Mourinho knows him well from Porto.


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