10 Sep 2004
- Written by Colin Tattum (Birmingham Evening Mail)
- Hits: 1215
The £250,000 Blues striker is preparing to face former Villa pals Ugo Ehiogu and Gareth Southgate at Middlesbrough tomorrow on his debut, likely off the substitutes' bench
And Yorke said he was up to the challenge at the Riverside - and beyond.
The 32-year-old revealed he has employed a personal trainer for the past four months to ensure he was in tip-top shape.
"It was just me thinking ahead and trying to approach the season the best I could," he said.
"I hadn't played much and when people are ahead of you, you need to catch up. You have to take these kind of steps so you're not short or left behind anyone.
"I'm feeling good physically, which is important. If the physical side of things wasn't great, maybe I wouldn't be here now.
"I've been in the game a long time and serious injuries haven't disturbed me, touch wood.
"It's just been a lack of playing and that's why I feel I've got a lot to offer.
"It's alright turning up and looking the part, you've also got to produce where it matters, on the pitch, which is my main concern.
"But at my age, with my experience, belief in my ability and my condition, I can still contribute significantly to any football club."
Yorke and former Blackburn Rovers manager Graeme Souness spectacularly fell out last March.
Yorke claimed Souness almost broke his leg with a crunching tackle in a six-a-side game.
Souness bemoaned Yorke's 'playboy' lifestyle and said his social life had taken over from 'the business side'.
Yorke won't let rip at him now but said he was generally misunderstood and suggested his record should speak for itself.
He said: "I wouldn't have achieved and played for the best clubs in the country otherwise, would I?
"I think I've let my football do the talking. The way football is going these days they don't tend to judge you on football anymore than tend to judge your lifestyle.
"If you let that interfere with what your job is, then you do have a problem, but I don't.
"This kind of criticism is all part and parcel of the game and I've been around long enough to let it be water under the bridge.
"The only way to shut people up really is to do the business on the pitch."