Tue, Jun


Former Manchester United striker and 1999 treble winner Dwight Yorke believes Diego Maradona's appointment as Al Wasl coach is an inspired move by the Dubai club. Speaking to XPRESS during his visit to Abu Dhabi in his capacity as AD Sports pundit, the former Trinidad and Tobago star said: "He will bring an aura and a presence that not many guys could bring and the interest a man like him generates can only be good for football in this part of the world."

Yorke however added: "Having said that, the jury is still out on his ability as a manager. You look at his record and it's not particularly great. That may change, but as it stands he's not proven himself as a manager yet."

Despite questions over Maradona's managerial qualities, Yorke says there's no doubt about the Argentine's greatness as a player.

"When you talk about the best players in the history of football, Maradona has got to be right up there. I'm such a massive fan of what the guy could do. I feel sorry for anyone who had to defend against him because you wouldn't know whether to back off or close him down, he was brilliant. To me, he was the best player I ever watched play.

"People watch [lionel] Messi now and think he's bringing a new dimension to football, but he is only doing now what Maradona was doing 20 years ago. You watch some of the clips of him during his days at Napoli, he was doing great things."

And the man who averaged a goal in every two matches during his 95-match stint with Manchester United hit out at criticism of the current side despite it winning its 19th Premier League title.

"I think too many people aren't giving the team the credit they deserve. A lot of people have gone on about the fact that this team isn't great to watch, and they aren't as good as the team of 1999 etc etc… what's all that about? I don't understand where people are coming from.

"You can only beat the teams that are in front of you and they have done that day in, day out. It's not about being pretty, it's about winning. So I think the comments are unfair on the effort the team and the manager have made this year. It's a reflection on the other teams in the league if Manchester United can be a lesser side and still win the league title. More people should give the side the credit they deserve," he said.

Talking of the Red Devil's chances in the Champions League final, Yorke said: "One thing that is for sure is that Manchester United will do it their way. They're going to play the Manchester United way. They'll highlight the threats that Barcelona have and work out what needs to be done to minimise those threats.

"And then they'll work on making the most of their strengths. So don't tell me Barcelona can't be beaten. They can definitely be beaten."