Trinidad & Tobago star Dwight Yorke is of the opinion that he is still good enough to play in the Premiership.
“I still feel I can play in a Premiership. I watch a Premiership match every week and when you see some players that are actually playing, then I think I can still do it. I still feel I can cut it with anyone."
The Tobago-born star, pivotal to his national side’s World Cup ambitions, went on to explain why he decided to leave Birmingham City last July and almost immediately sign for Australian outfit Sydney FC.
“I decided to choose Sydney because they were keen and it was something new and fresh. Since I went there, everything seems to have gone extremely well.
“By being in Australia I have not missed out on anything and certainly at 34 I am going to the World Cup with my country, which is the ultimate."
By his own admission, his love affair with the English game did not end the way he wanted it to.
“There is a little bit of a disappointment because of the way I left. I love England because after 17 years as a professional and being in the Premiership all my life it was a little bit difficult, but sometimes you do take a step back to go forward."
But Yorke, arguably the most decorated black footballer to have played the game, has lots to look forward to in the summer when he leads his nation to their first World Cup finals.
Yorke offered a masterclass performance in the recent 2-0 friendly win against Iceland. Nearly 8,000 Soca Warriors fans saw Yorke pull the strings for his team in his fluid playmaker role. He also chipped in with both goals to suggest that he will still be the ‘main man’ when T&T get their World Cup campaign underway against Sweden on June 10 in Dortmund.
With the Australian season now over, Yorke needs to find a club which will give him competitive action during the build-up to football’s ultimate showpiece.
Playing for a side in the English Championship has been floated but Yorke still feels a Premiership role is not out of the question.
Until a deal is struck, Yorke has only a firm offer to train with
his old employers, Manchester United, in order to keep himself fit.
It was at United’s Theatre of Dreams that Yorke played out the most successful spell of his career.
Having signed from Aston Villa for a record £12.6m in 1998, Yorke was to prove an instant hit with United’s fans. At the end of his first season in Manchester he was named Carling Player of the Year.
His goals, his demeanour, overall contribution and his obvious love for the game – symbolised by a toothy grin - made him at the time British football’s hottest property. And all this having been snapped up by Villa in 1989 at just 17.
Yorke scored 64 goals in 151 games for United while helping them to the coveted Treble in 1999. However, his relationship with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was to deteriorate soon after and he never fulfilled his obvious potential.
For the moment, Ferguson has been replaced by T&T national coach Leo Beenhakker. Yorke is unstinting in his praise for the Dutchman: “I rank him among the very best that I have worked with. He demands a lot of his players and as far as I am concerned I love the guy to bits. I think he is a great man and a great coach.
“He has turned things around and you don’t come in and do that if you don’t know about the game and know what your players’ capabilities are and having a system that suits the players – that’s how we qualified.
“Look at his pedigree, he has got everything. He understands football, he understands a certain way that he likes us to play and for me that has been very successful so far. All thanks to him."
The whole of Trinidad & Tobago will have their fingers crossed that Yorke, Beenhakker and rest can glean even more success in Germany in June.