McCarthy can provide goals
BENNI MCCARTHY is desperate to make up for the four and half years that have passed since he was originally set to join West Ham, by providing them with the goals to shoot up the Premier League table, writes DAVE EVANS. McCarthy was all set to join Alan P
BENNI MCCARTHY is desperate to make up for the four and half years that have passed since he was originally set to join West Ham, by providing them with the goals to shoot up the Premier League table, writes DAVE EVANS.
McCarthy was all set to join Alan Pardew's newly-promoted side in the summer of 2005, until his then club Porto pulled out of the deal at the last moment.
The 32-year-old striker signed on the dotted line on Monday, in a deal said to be worth �2.25million and expressed his delight.
"This is a great club," he said, after signing a permanent deal until the summer of 2012. "The reason why I am happy that it has finally happened is because about five years ago I thought I was going to be a West Ham player until Porto pulled out and I had to go back.
"I would have loved this to be my first Premier League club, but I am looking forward to making up for lost time and I can't wait to make my debut."
McCarthy is South Africa's all-time leading goalscorer with 32 goals in 77 internationals, but his chances at Blackburn this season have been limited.
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West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola though, believes that he will prove a vital member of the Hammers squad.
"I think he has the quality I am looking for," revealed the boss, who watched McCarthy train with his team for the first time last Friday.
"He has quality in the last third, he's got goals in his bag and that is what I need right now, so that is what I am going to be asking him to produce for us.
"A player like him, you have to keep around the box because he is going to be more effective like that."
West Ham fans will be eager to see McCarthy link up with England striker Carlton Cole, something that Zola feels will work a treat for the club.
"I think he will be a good partner for him," he insisted. "Carlton is strong and skilful, and Benni is smart and skilful so I think they will find a good combination.
"If they work together and if they help each other then they can be a really big asset for us."
It will be Cole's first chance to play alongside an experienced out-and-out striker since the departure of Craig Bellamy, and Zola believes that can only benefit the England forward.
"He will take some of the pressure off Carlton," said the manager. "He will allow him to be more relaxed and also the opposition will not have to look after only one player, they will have to look after two players and that is a big thing."
That suggests that Zola's preoccupation with the 4-5-1 system may finally go out of the window.
West Ham looked a much stronger team when Cole was playing with Zavon Hines and then Mexican striker Guillermo Franco, but as they all suffered injuries in turn, the manager has had to rely on youngster Frank Nouble to plough a lone furrow.
That clearly hasn't worked, but Zola thinks that McCarthy will not take long to gel with Cole up front for the Hammers.
"Sometimes it doesn't take very long," he said. "I've seen partnerships develop an understanding quickly and you can see straight away whether it clicks or not for them.
"If it really works, then it will not take long."
Cole himself is certainly keen to have the new man alongside him.
"I'm very happy he has joined," said the striker. "He's a quality player, very experienced as well.
"For me, I can learn off him and pick his brains on how he does things. I can't wait to start training properly with him."
McCarthy has only one thing on his mind: "They wanted me before, it didn't happen, but now the opportunity arises again and this time I am going to prove myself," he said.
"All I want to do is score goals for West Ham and make the fans happy."
That will be nice.