Despite taking on coaching responsibilities at the Academy of Light and harbouring hopes of stepping into fulltime management, Dwight Yorke feels he still has enough ability to be playing regularly for Sunderland in the Premier League.
And the 37-year-old, who will embark on his UEFA A-licence qualification in the summer after completing his B-licence recently, wants to stay in the game once he has hung up his boots.
The timing of his retirement, however, is not something Yorke has decided on, with the former Manchester United striker still dreaming of playing in his second successive World Cup.
“The things I’ve got to ask myself are: Am I enjoying it and can I still play the game?
I feel I can, at least until the end of the season,” said Yorke, whose contract is due to expire on Wearside in the summer.
“I feel I can very much contribute to the team but that’s not my call.
“I’ve just got to give myself a real good talking to and ask if I can compete with these guys or is there an opportunity for me to get into coaching and eventually progress into being a manager?
“The offer might be there, the offer might not be. I won’t know the answers until towards the end of the season when this club is pretty much secure in playing Premier League football.”
Having helped Sydney FC to the inaugural A-League Grand Final as their marquee signing before being attracted to Sunderland by Roy Keane in September 2006, the lure of having a final swansong in Australia could also attract Yorke.
But he is keen to avoid making any decisions until it becomes clearer how Trinidad & Tobago’s World Cup 2010 dream is shaping up. He is expected to play for his country against Honduras on March 28 and against the United States on April 1, while the outcomes of the June qualifiers with Costa Rica and Mexico would certainly influence Yorke’s decision.
“I can see myself playing next year, certainly in Australia, but if I’m to progress as a coach or a manager and there’s an opportunity for me it’s one you have to consider,”
said Yorke, whose contract at Sunderland remains as a player and not as a player-coach.
“I have to look at where Trinidad & Tobago are going in terms of qualification, where I’m at with my playing career and what is on offer at the end of the season.”
With his illustrious career spanning Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn and Birmingham before jetting out to Australia, Yorke would certainly not need the strains of management once he ends his playing days.
But having been asked to become the link man between Sbragia’s backroom staff and the first team squad at Sunderland, he is enjoying it and is keen to remain in the game once the day comes.
“Rick values my opinions and my suggestions at times.
That’s basically what it is,”
said Yorke. “I’m still very much a player at the end of the day. I still see myself as a player who can contribute to this team, certainly until the end of the season, then I’ve got to see what happens.
“The title player-coach hasn’t been officially given to me, I haven’t got a contract saying that. I’m registered as a player.
Rick might not want me to be here next year.
“He might have his concept as survival, getting through this year then settling down and bringing in his own people.
People have different ways.”