Friday, 13 August 2010

Benni McCarthy

The weight loss regime will continue for five weeks as the Premier League club have finally lost patience with the South African striker, who has struggled for fitness since he moved to Upton Park.

Club chairman David Sullivan told Telegraph Sport: "Benni has a rigorous weight loss programme and if he doesn't lose the weight we will be fining him. We are not being unrealistic. We've given him a target of losing a kilo – 2.2lb – a week. He has to lose five or six more kilos.

"He's training very hard so he must be eating or drinking something very wrong. Short of spending 24 hours a day with him, we have to assume that.

"With the amount of training he is doing his weight should be going down with a normal diet. We are not starving him. It's just don't eat ice cream, don't eat cakes, don't drink wine. Who knows when they go home what they do.

"They say he's lost five kilos but he still looks heavy to me. But we are very optimistic. I can fine him. I can't be unrealistic and say half a stone a week but a kilo a week is a realistic target for a man of his size.

"It's like a jockey turning up overweight. He can't ride a horse can he, and no one is going to pay him? I think we are fully within our rights to say 'you are not honouring your side of the contract'. You expect him to turn up in a state to be a footballer."

McCarthy, 32, is the club's fourth-highest earner and has two years left on his contract having arrived from Blackburn Rovers in January for £2.2 million. His weight problems meant he was left out of South Africa's World Cup squad. It remains to be seen whether he survives the overhaul of the squad Sullivan and new manager Avram Grant are carrying out this summer.

"In a perfect world I would love to have been able to throw every player out, get all the money that was paid for their transfers in a pot and start again," Sullivan said. "I look at some of the money the club has paid for some players and it does not make sense."

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