Dwight Yorke is in line to become a manager after Ricky Sbragia credited the midfielder with having a major influence on Sunderland’s players since Roy Keane’s departure.
And, having been promoted to assist Sbragia while the club hunts for Keane’s successor as manager, the Trinidad and Tobago international has excelled with the extra responsibility behind the scenes.
Sbragia said: “Dwight’s down there in the dressing room and does ever so well. He is talking to the players with informal meetings to get a feel how the players are so they can get their point of view across.
“You mustn’t forget they have an opinion, we have to know how they are, are they tired or unhappy, we have to know that and Dwight’s a middle man between upstairs and the dressing room.
“The players absolutely adore him. He was a great player and he’s still a good player.
“They have a lot of respect for him and that’s very important, but his mannerism is cheerful and bubbly.
“He’s laid back, but he’s focused as a coach and he’s involved in every decision. It would be pointless having him as a player-coach if that wasn’t the case.” And, like Keane, Sbragia has also predicted Yorke, 37, will go on to be a highly successful manager in his own right when he retires as a player, despite his previous playboy reputation.
He added: “I think he will be a manager one day. He’s got the ability and he’s got the name to be a manager, whether that will be as an international team or with a club, I don’t know.
“He’s doing his badges and he’s very interested to come into the coaching side of things. He’s been given this opportunity and he’s done really well for us.”