Dwight Yorke will risk sparking another club versus country row when he starts his third game in seven days for Trinidad & Tobago tomorrow night – just a fortnight after Sunderland boss Roy Keane said his veteran midfielder needed to be handled with care.
That is likely to cause dismay on Wearside, where Keane had appealed for both Yorke and Trinidad & Tobago to show “common sense” and utilise the 36-year-old sparingly during the international break.
But with the Soca Warriors in desperate need of points to keep pace with Guatemala and maintain their hopes of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, appeasing Keane is clearly not high on the agenda.
Trinidad & Tobago federation spokesman Shaun Fuentes confirmed that the team’s skipper will play.
“Dwight Yorke will definitely play against the United States, that’s for sure,” he said.
“He played very well against Guatemala and the team needs him to play in a very important match against the United States – and he will play.” While Keane has chosen not to provoke the Trinidad & Tobago authorities since his bust-up with the Fifa vice-president Jack Warner last month, he clearly has concerns about the ability of Yorke to play so many games in such a short spell of time.
The original row was prompted by Yorke’s decision to return to international football and play for his country when Keane felt he had still not recovered from the cheekbone injury sustained in pre-season.
While Yorke is now match-fit, and a performance of authority against Arsenal a fortnight ago is further proof of that, Keane is unlikely to be happy that his veteran midfielder is being asked to play for a third time. The skipper’s involvement in both of the qualifying games is perhaps understandable given his importance to Trinidad & Tobago’s bid to be involved in South Africa in 2010, but there will be bemusement at Yorke playing 45 minutes in his country’s 9-0 thrashing of the Dominican Republic a week ago.
Fuentes, however, feels that Keane can have few complaints about the way that Trinidad & Tobago have used the midfielder since he reported for international duty. “Obviously Roy Keane didn’t want Dwight playing the last time but that was because he had not played for Sunderland after injury,” said Fuentes. “Roy Keane said that Dwight played well against Arsenal and he has shown he is fit enough to play for Trinidad.”
Provided he comes through the game unscathed, Yorke is sure to be in contention for Sunderland’s weekend trip to Fulham.