Football: Former Red Devil Dwight Yorke open to managing in the S-League

Former Man United striker Dwight Yorke posing for photos with staff of The Chamber at a meet-and-greet session yesterday. The Champions League winner is open to the idea of managing an S-League team.
Former Man United striker Dwight Yorke posing for photos with staff of The Chamber at a meet-and-greet session yesterday. The Champions League winner is open to the idea of managing an S-League team.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Former Liverpool and Arsenal player Jermaine Pennant has already taken the first step in joining Tampines Rovers in the S-League.

Just last week, his ex-Liverpool team-mate John Arne Riise also issued a come-and-get-me plea to potential interested S-League clubs.

And now, yet another former English Premier League (EPL) player in the form of Dwight Yorke is keen to make a foray into Singapore football - albeit in a managerial role.

"Right now, I'm looking to get into management and maybe a job of that nature will interest me to come to this part of the world," the 44-year-old, who scored 47 goals in 95 games for Manchester United, told The Straits Times at The Chamber restaurant yesterday.

"Everything in Singapore is fantastic, from the great weather to the good food, and if there is a job opportunity from a managerial point of view, I might look into it."

According to Yorke, who enjoyed a relatively long career - he retired at 37 - because he "never had a severe injury" and "always took care of myself", the recent trend of EPL players moving to Asia is a positive one.

He explained: "The English Premier League is still the place where everyone wants to be. But some players wanting to pursue a professional career might not have any opportunities to play and I would think Asia is the place to come."

Yorke is in Singapore as part of Singtel's information and communications technology (ICT) contest, where three lucky business owners got to host him alongside their customers at their shop-fronts yesterday. Another three will enjoy the privilege today.

Although it has been seven years since he last played in the EPL with Sunderland in the 2008-09 season, the former Trinidad and Tobago international still keeps a keen eye on two of his former clubs - United and bottom-placed Aston Villa.

"Aston Villa are a club close to my heart as I spent nine to 10 years there and they were the club who gave me my first opportunity in my professional career," he said.

"To see them in their current position is very hard to take as they were the top five or six in the country for a number of years.

"We have been seeing so many managers come and go, but no progress has been made. So why not have someone who knows the club and maybe the fortunes can be turned around.

"United are also not as good as they once used to be and when Alex Ferguson left, that (successful) era seemed to have disintegrated.

"There will be question marks asked of (manager Louis) van Gaal as he is into his second year and the club are highly unlikely to win any trophies.

"We had no doubt that he was the right man for the job when he first came in but the club will have to re-evaluate the situation at the end of the season."

In spite of the disappointing season the Red Devils are having so far, one of the bright spots has been the emergence of 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford, who has three goals in five appearances, but Yorke is not getting carried away.

"He has only played a few games but everyone thinks he will be a major superstar. But we have had the example of (Federico) Macheda, and we will have to wait and see how good he really is."

Like Rashford, Macheda first shot to prominence when he scored on his United debut as a 17-year-old but he failed to live up to expectations and is now plying his trade in the English Championship with Cardiff City.

While new sensations like Rashford are the talk of the town, Yorke proved he can still draw in a crowd, mingling easily with about 100 staff and fans at yesterday's meet-and-greet session.

"We are overwhelmed and proud to have Dwight Yorke here with us and this gives us a chance to reward the customers and staff," said Keith Hong, 47, owner of The Chamber. "In fact, our staff were already very excited weeks before when we told them the news (of Yorke's appearance at the restaurant)."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline 'Former Red Devil keen to manage in S-League'. Print Edition | Subscribe