Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy says he is glad former manager Paul Ince got the sack in December, as he was going to cost the South African the chance of playing at the 2010 World Cup.
The 31-year-old, who has netted 24 goals in 50 appearances for his country, fell out of favour with the former Macclesfield and MK Dons manager during his tenure at Ewood Park, with his lack of match action likely to deny the front-man the opportunity to represent Bafana Bafana when they host the tournament next year.
‘It is a relief to be playing again," he told The Sun. "I don’t know why the last manager didn’t pick me, but I would love to know why. Some managers just prefer certain players and if you don’t fit in then you don’t play and you just get the boot.
"It was difficult, of course. Especially when you get to my age and you are playing for a country that is hosting the World Cup. It was hard. Every time I kept going to the national team where I am like a really important figure - but I wasn’t playing for my club."
So McCarthy is a much happier man now that Sam Allardyce is in charge of Rovers. Not only has the former Bolton and Newcastle boss lifted Blackburn out of the relegation zone, but he has also restored the South African to the starting line-up; a decision which has reaped instant rewards.
The ex-Porto marksman scored twice in a 3-0 rout of fellow strugglers Stoke City in Big Sam's first match in charge. And he has since netted twice more at Ewood Park, against Manchester City and Newcastle respectively, to lift Rovers out of the bottom three.
"Sam came in and was really direct on tactical things we didn’t do before but we have started doing now," he added.
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