Benni McCarthy has moved to end speculation over his future by insisting that he is ready to remain with Premiership outfit Blackburn Rovers for the rest of his career.
The South African striker has two years left to run on his current contract at Ewood Park, but the former Porto, Celta Vigo and Ajax star has continually been linked with a move away from the club since his arrival in July 2006.
His surprise omission from the Blackburn first team by manager Mark Hughes earlier this season also raised question marks over the Cape Town-born forward’s long-term prospects at the club.
But McCarthy (30) has since formed an impressive partnership with the Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz and he admits that, after recently opening talks over a new deal, he is prepared to extend his stay at Blackburn.
”The club has been nothing but generous to me,” said McCarthy.
”They’ve given me an opportunity that not many other clubs would have given me in the Premiership and I feel I’m repaying them.
”But in all fairness, the only way you can repay them is by pledging your future.
”They are talking with my people, so hopefully, at the end of this season, all this can be behind us because I can definitely see myself playing under Mark Hughes until I finish my career.
”I’ve been fortunate to play for two managers who are very similar, in terms of being laid-back and easy going and they are able to get the best out of you.
”One of those was Jose Mourinho at Porto and the other one is Mark Hughes. He’s young and full of energy and he wants to achieve a lot of things.
”For a player like me, it’s great to be playing for a manager who is so optimistic about wanting to achieve things and wanting to win things.
”You just want to be part of all that and I can see myself easily playing for a manager like that for the rest of my career.”
McCarthy arrived at Blackburn with the pedigree of having won both the Champions League and Uefa Cup with Porto, but he admits that his best chance of tasting European football again is with Blackburn.
”I think my shot at playing in the Champions League has gone if I don’t make it with Blackburn,” said McCarthy.
”If we can’t do it, then there’s probably only four teams where you are guaranteed an easier run of playing Champions League football.
”Either you go to Manchester United, or you go to Chelsea, or Arsenal, or Liverpool. If you go to any of the other clubs then your chances are limited. But Blackburn are right up there.” — Sapa-AFP