Abu Dhabi : Dwight Yorke is probably the most famous footballer from Trinidad and Tobago. He made a name for himself as a top striker with Manchester United, helping the club win the English Premier League and the Uefa Champions League titles during the '90s. He also helped his country reach the finals of the 2006 World Cup in Germany after beating Bahrain in the play-off.
GULF NEWS: You have played for Man United. What do you think of their chances this season in both the Premier League and the Uefa Champions League?
DWIGHT YORKE: Over the years Manchester United have proved themselves. They are always going to be there — there or thereabouts. Chelsea might be favourite, but from my experience as a Manchester United player and as a fan, is that they like it when they are not the favourites.
They have a very good chance of winning the Premier League, but it will also be very difficult for them. Chelsea is playing some very good football, as is Arsenal.
Manchester United need to show their true colours and all their experience of winning trophies over the years.
Champions League is a different story. Barcelona have certainly been installed as favourites. Inter Milan will be very difficult. And, you can't discount Chelsea. It will be extremely difficult for Manchester United but, never say never.
After more than 25 years with United, do you think Sir Alex still has a future with the team? Or might a change be good for the team?
I've had the opportunity to go to Manchester United recently, see the inside of the club, see the players — how they are working together — and see the desire of the manager, and he's still got lots of desire. He still has lots of desire to win the Championship again, to be the all-time greatest team in the Premier League. He still has a lot of passion for the game.
Wayne Rooney signing the contract again shows he still has a lot of ambition. Rooney would want to know if Sir Alex would want to be there for a while longer.
The UAE have gone for a professional set-up in the last three years. What is your advice to the local players?
Any UAE player has to really enjoy playing. Has to enjoy playing in their own atmosphere, and show their potential and ability to overcome any difficulties in the league. Until they have shown the ability to master their own league, for anyone to break into the Premier League they would need to be exceptional. It is the most difficult league to play in.
With the league developing here, it is a great attraction for foreign players to come here for the weather, the climate and the way of life. It's one that may not attract ambitious players at this time — Premier League you want to test yourself against the very best — however, you can attract players who are at the end of their career, who can help raise the league's profile.
Over the years the league will improve and will attract the players with the experience of playing in the Premier League, and the local players will learn from them and see what it takes to become a Premier League player, and an international player.
I certainly think the UAE has the ability to attract those sorts of players. With it only being three years old, the future looks bright.
Like Trinidad and Tobago, the UAE have featured once in the finals of the World Cup. Do you think that using foreign players will help the country's game to improve or will such an approach deprive local players of their chances?
If you're looking to improve the local players you need to have a system in place to safeguard chances for local players. That might be rules to say that a certain number of foreign players are allowed in each team, rather than bringing in a whole bunch of foreign players.
Yes, foreign players do come in and improve the game, because of their status, because they have been playing in tougher leagues before and they can bring a lot to the table. That is important to improve, grow the league, but what is also important is to protect the local players, that the local players get enough playing time, and you can only do that by limiting the number of foreign players in the team — perhaps seven local players, and three foreign players, to add balance to the team and safeguard the local players, so they get enough time on the pitch.
England have not registered any international success since 1966. Do you think that they have to change their style of play or should the clubs sign fewer foreign players?
If you look at the England team they have world-class players throughout, but whether the system and mentality is right is another question.
I think it is a matter of belief and the system. Personally, from being in England for 22 years and seeing how England play, I think the formation needs to change, I think players are playing in the wrong positions, but that's just my opinion.
I think what they need to understand, that because they are England everyone is up for it.
It is the one team in the entire world that every team wants to play against, the one team everyone wants to beat. We did it in 2006 against England, and we're only a minor country when it comes to England, but yet England struggled against us.
They need to get it into their head that everyone wants to beat England, no matter if it's a friendly or international.