More 45 than 44 but his washboard abdomen evident in a body-hugging white Manchester United tee, Dwight Yorke could have passed of as an new recruit in the Indian Super League (ISL). He is, after all, about the age David James was when the former England goalie played for Kerala Blasters.
And though Yorke does want to be involved with the ISL, he has no plans of doing a James. “Definitely not as a player but I would like to be part of the ISL as a manager,” said the Manchester United ambassador, here on a whistle-stop visit as part of a promotional for Gulf Oil.
“I have done my badges and my ambition is to be a manager one day. And it could be here,” said Yorke. Should that happen, Ryan Giggs, Yorke’s teammate for four seasons at United, will not have any competition. Even though Giggs has played futsal in India, he has not spoken of taking baby steps into full-time management through the ISL like Chennaiyin FC’s Marco Materazzi.
In Jose Mourinho, Yorke said, Manchester United now have a manager “who is going to restore the winning mentality at the club.” That statement alone could be interpreted as to what he thought of Mourinho’s immediate predecessor. Or the one before that.
“We now have a team in place that can show the world that Manchester United can again be No.1 not just in England but all over the world,” he said.
Leicester City’s fairytale run all the way to the Premiership title left Yorke “intrigued” but, equally importantly, it also helped Manchester United look within and accept that “they needed to improve quality. And the new manager has done that so far,” he said.
Under Mourinho, United have signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic --- he will be a force with Anthony Martial, said Yorke --- Armenian Henrik Mkhitaryan, Ivory Coast’s Eric Bailly and are said to be making a megabuck pitch for Paul Pogba.
United haven’t won the Premiership since 2013; they finished fifth last season and the only silverware after Alex Ferguson left has been an FA Cup following which Louis van Gaal was sacked with a year left on his contract.
Known to be a keen follower of cricket, one whose best friend is a certain Brian Lara, the former Trinidad and Tobago star said he was sad to see how West Indies crumbled against India in Antigua. After pointing out that the Test team has been in turmoil for a while, Yorke pointed out West Indies’ success in the World T20 and that of their U-19 team to show that all is not lost with cricket in the Carribbean.
“But I hope those caught up in T20 in the West Indies will bring some credibility to our Test team,” he said.
No conversation with Yorke would be complete without mention of the ‘treble’ United won in his first season at the club. “The manner, fashion and style with which we won it will make it special. I expected to win something in my first year at United but not three,” he said, referring to the 98-99 season when United won the league, FA Cup and the Champions League.