Beckham wary of threat from old friend Yorke
The English skipper knows it will be no walkover with his former Manchester United colleague rallying his troops.Updated: Jun 14, 2006 15:32 IST
David Beckham is an old friend of Dwight Yorke and knows his game inside out, which is why the England captain is wary of the threat he poses despite being 34.
Yorke will captain Trinidad and Tobago against England tomorrow in Nuremberg and the English skipper knows it will be no walkover with his former Manchester United colleague rallying his troops.
Although the Sydney FC star now operates more in a midfield role than as a striker, Beckham says he needs to be stifled.
"Yorke is a good friend and has been for many years," said Beckham.
"He's not just a great person but one of the best players around. Yorkie has always been a threat to any defenders, any team he comes up against."
"The time I spent with him at United was amazing, we won the Champions League, FA Cups, League Cups and the league. He was a huge part of that team and it will be nice to see him," he said.
"He's a player you have to be aware of. A huge star, a player that all their players probably look up to because of what he's done outside of his country."
As he has got older, Yorke has carved a new role for himself playing in defensive midfield, and anchored 10-man Trinidad and Tobago to a shock 0-0 draw against Sweden in their opening World Cup game.
Despite his advancing years, Yorke succeeded where many have failed by blunting the attacking edge of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Freddie Ljungberg and Henrik Larsson. He was voted man of the match for his steely performance.
Although they have three points in the bag after their less-than-convincing 1-0 win over Paraguay, England know they can't be complacent against the Caribbean islanders after witnessing Sweden's embarrassment.
"Trinidad and Tobago will be physically ready," said Beckham of the smallest nation ever to participate in the World Cup.
"The result against Sweden might have surprised some people but not me. They are a tough team and there will be a lot of respect on the pitch for us to them and them to us."
England appear set to start again with Peter Crouch and Michael Owen up front despite the Newcastle forward's lack of match fitness that saw him wilt in the heat against Paraguay.
There had been speculation that Wayne Rooney could return, although it is now understood that Sven-Goran Eriksson is unlikely to play him.
"The preparation was based on playing the best possible England team," Yorke said. "Of course Rooney is in that best possible team, everyone is talking about him, but whether he plays or not we're not too concerned.
"He deserves to be here because he's one of the most gifted and talented players in the world right now and that's what the World Cup is all about -- playing the best players in the best competition.
"Whether he plays or not though, I don't think that will affect our plans too much."
Trinidad's wily coach Leo Beenhakker, once in charge of mighty Real Madrid, says his side have shown they are not be intimidated by facing superstar line-ups, and are ready for England.
"The Swedes played with strikers from Juventus, Arsenal and Barcelona," he said.
First Published: Jun 14, 2006 15:32 IST