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Dwight Yorke has admitted he was planning a life of leisure when he turned his back on English football two years ago - and that he could scarcely have picked a more demanding person to bring him out of it than Roy Keane.


When Australia relaunched its A-League in 2004 it joined the likes of Saudi Arabia, Japan and the United States as a rest home for former top players who fancied a lucrative semi-retirement.

And 35-year-old Yorke admits that is how he saw his move from Birmingham City to Sydney United.

"I was winding things down a little bit, to be honest," he says. "Even when I went to Australia I felt I could still play in the Premier League.

"But you get to the stage where you have achieved so much, you feel like a fresh start.

"I felt like getting away from the media hype and that was the way for me to go."

So what made him give up the Sydney sun for a winter on Wearside?

"Only Roy Keane could have convinced me to come back," he insists. "There were other clubs from this country interested but it was only because of Roy and the club that I came back.

"I think I have got over leaving Australia now. At first I was shell-shocked but after two or three months you get into the swing of it.

"The Championship is a very difficult league but I think I have adapted reasonably well and I have no regrets.

"Mind you, there are times when the gaffer is shouting and screaming at me from the sidelines when I still wonder if I did the right thing!"

Still, Yorke believes the 35-year-old Keane is a more mild-mannered version of the man who used to berate him from the middle of midfield when they played together at Old Trafford - not that his theory has been put to the test yet.

"He has definitely chilled out, although inside he may be steaming and you still don't want to cross him," he says.

"He is absolutely crucial for the club.

"I have known him for a few years and I still don't know him. But nothing he does surprises me. It has to be his way - that is the only way forward for the club."