It is 11am on a sodden day in central London and as he steps into a cosy room located at the rear of the opulent Haymarket Hotel, Dwight Yorke looks tired but content. Dressed in loose-fitting jeans and an even looser shirt, a gleaming chain dangling from his neck and a large baseball cap shadowing his face, the former Manchester United forward falls on to a sofa and explains where he has been.
Yorke is a walking, talking trick of the mind. To be in his company is to question if the past 11 years even took place. It is that long since he helped United secure an unprecedented treble and yet he appears exactly the same. He is as slim now as he was in May 1999, his face, when uncovered, shows little sign of age, and then, of course, there is the playboy lifestyle.
Aged 38, does Yorke think now may be the time finally to settle down and get married? "No f**king chance," he responds, before flashing that trademark ice-white smile.
Mischief is in the air but Yorke is also at pains to insist he has grown up. It is eight months since he retired from football and there is a new focus. "I'm doing my coaching badges at the moment with the aim of becoming a manager," he says. "I've been considering it ever since my spell at Sunderland [Yorke briefly worked as an assistant to Ricky Sbragia at the club, the last of his career, following the departure of Roy Keane as manager in December 2008]. I have an idea of how to do it, and having been involved in the game for 22 years, I definitely have a lot of experience. I've seen a lot change, a lot."
The biggest change as far as Yorke is concerned is one that will have his critics screaming "hypocrite". According to the man who filled his autobiography, Born to Score, with tales of how he used to sneak women into his hotel room on the eve of games, not to mention stories about his relationship with a certain ample-chested model, modern players are too flash.
"In my time you had to be the main man year after year to be able to demand respect at your club, but now it's too easy because of the financial rewards on offer," he says. "Everybody can go out and buy fancy things and, while I don't have a problem with that, I do think players should earn the right to say 'I deserve this big contract and all this money'.
"Yes, I've done a lot of things in life, but I've also achieved a lot, I've won trophies. When I was at Sunderland I looked through the dressing room and thought 'who's won anything substantial here?'. Nobody had and yet they all had a flashy car and an opinion."
Yorke has no obvious solutions to such shifts in dressing-room culture but could always seek advice from the man who ultimately defined his career. Sir Alex Ferguson turfed Yorke out of United just four seasons after bringing him to the club, a reaction to his increasingly wild antics, but, the player insists, there is no lingering bitterness.
"I've been back to United numerous times since I left and things between me and Fergie are fine," he says. "I'm even thinking of doing my coaching badges there. The truth is I was never wary about my relationship with Fergie because he has always been good to me. I remember when I left United he called me into his room and said, 'Things haven't worked out for you here but what you have done for this club will never be forgotten'. That was phenomenal given what happened."
Yorke went from scoring 26 goals and winning three major honours in his debut season at United to four goals and nothing in his final year there prior to being sold to Blackburn Rovers. Ferguson tried his best to rein in the player, even demanding that he get married, but there was no getting through and in July 2002 it was decided Yorke could go.
"In hindsight I could have done things differently," concedes Yorke, who spent three seasons at Ewood Park before playing for Birmingham City, FC Sydney and Sunderland. "But would I give up the women and nights out for another year at United? Would that make me happy? Would that make me the person I am today? I'm not sure. I have no regrets. I went to United to win things and I achieved that."
Yorke's fondness for United is obvious and is only matched by his love for the club that sold him to Old Trafford in the first place. Aston Villa brought the then 17-year-old Tobagan to England in 1989 and during eight seasons at the club he scored 73 goals in 232 appearances, won the 1996 Coca-Cola Cup and became an integral part of the side. Indeed, such was the sense of loss felt at Villa when Yorke moved to United in August 1998, the club's then manager, John Gregory, said he could have "shot" the player for leaving.
A reminder of the threat does not rile Yorke, who scored 15 times in 52 appearances for his country, and instead he reflects on his time in the Midlands with satisfaction. Indeed, he rushed back to the country to watch them face United in tomorrow's Carling Cup final and while refusing to pick a winner from his former clubs, it is obvious who Yorke hopes will prevail: "It's 14 years since they [Villa] last won a trophy and that's far too long. I'm on the fence but if United don't win, I won't feel bad."
Talk of his first English club brings Yorke back to his managerial ambitions. "I'd like the Villa job for sure," he says. "I think that's a realistic target for a young ambitious manager like myself." Given his past, though, does Yorke believe any chairman would be brave enough to appoint him? "I don't see why not," he replies. "I've got a reputation but everybody's got a reputation. You should be judged on what you've done in football and there's not a lot of people who have a CV like mine.
"Ideally I'll get a chance in the Championship. People say I should go somewhere like Lincoln, like [Chris] Sutton did, but I don't want to be struggling down there. If Roy Keane can start in the Championship, why can't I?"
The reference to Keane, who Yorke fell out with spectacularly during their time together at Sunderland, makes United the centre of focus once more. That smile shines again as Yorke remembers how Ferguson once gave him the "biggest bollocking" of his life and even blamed him for turning his hair grey.
If he does become a manager, would Yorke ever tell one of his own players to settle down and get married? "No way!" he chuckles. "They can talk to me about anything but I wouldn't tell anyone to get married. I'd say get two or three women instead!"