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DWIGHT Yorke says Sunderland's plight is more important a friendly international.

The 35-year-old pulled out of Trinidad & Tobago's match in Austria tonight after deciding he needed to concentrate on helping the Black Cats.

He has not ruled out representing his country in the future, but it seems increasingly unlikely that the midfielder will line up for the Soca Warriors again.

Yorke told the Echo: "We're in a situation where we have to start winning football matches on a more regular basis.

"It is nice to play for your country, but at this moment I feel I have to give my full concentration to Sunderland.

"It's more important that I'm here helping the team to prepare for the weekend than going to Austria for what is only a friendly.

"I have a great understanding with the Trinidad & Tobago FA and they know my situation here.

"I'm not saying it's over for me if they want me in the future, but they know there will be times when I will not make myself available."

Yorke has spoken before about the leadership responsibilities he feels he has on Wearside.

He has described himself as boss Roy Keane's "eyes and ears in the dressing room".

With Keane's men languishing deep in the bottom half of the Championship, the former Manchester United favourite believes his influence is needed.

He said: "You do get more relaxed when you get more experienced. It is true that you get older and wiser.

"It is no good ranting and raving all the time when things go against you. You are disappointed when you lose and make mistakes but you learn to deal with it.

"I feel I'm experienced enough to be able to relax people and playing in midfield I am better placed to do that because it's easier to communicate with people all over the pitch."

Yorke says no-one is pushing the panic button at the Stadium of Light, despite the Black Cats sitting only four points above the relegation zone.

"Two or three good results and we're in the top six," he said. "I'm still very confident we can do that.