'United not entertaining'

Legend speaks : Scholes was the best I played with, says Yorke

'United not entertaining'

 Manchester United, one of the greatest clubs in the world, has had some great players don its colours. Dwight Yorke may not elicit the same adulation as a Bryan Robson, Ryan Giggs or Wayne Rooney to mention a few but the Smiling Assassin achieved something that very few can dream about.

After moving to United in 1998 following nine seasons at Aston Villa, the striker played a key role in the team winning the coveted treble — league, FA Cup and Champions League — in his debut season. In Bengaluru as a club ambassador, Yorke spoke about his time with the Red Devils, Sir Alex Ferguson and much more. Excerpts.

How was the feeling after winning the coveted treble in your first season at United?

I think it’s a wonderful achievement to be part of such a historical moment in the history of Manchester United. It’s a great honour to play at such a prestigious club and it gave me the opportunity to experience so many things. Of course we had a great manager and great players, so to have won the treble and be part of that was just amazing.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, United is struggling to find a suitable replacement. Why?

I won’t say replacement. The gaffer, we all knew, was going to come to the end of his reign after 27 years. Without a doubt he’s been the most successful manager in English football and throughout the world in terms of what he has achieved. Whoever comes, it’s going to be tough to ask him to come in and follow in that scheme of things. But I’m sure with the new manager installed (Louis van Gaal), that’s part of his ambition to bring the club to the level that we all expect the club to be.

One of the major complaints of the fans is that since Ferguson’s departure, the team is not playing the United way. Do you think since every manager comes with his own philosophy, it’s wrong for us to expect the old?

I think every manager has his own concept. When we play for United, we become entertainers as much as we are winners. I think what the fans are saying is they are not being entertained enough, the team is not playing with enough flair and freedom of expression is absent. It is something that I understood as a player when I joined United. The reason why we have 750 million supporters around the world is because we entertain and people value that. Winning and losing is part of the game, but the fans need to be entertained. Truth be told, this season United have not been entertaining enough.

With great players like Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and Zinedine Zidane becoming coaches, wouldn’t it be a good idea to install Ryan Giggs as United coach next season?

It’s not for me to say, the manager (van Gaal) has got another year. I see where you are going with this, these are high profile players taking over the football club. We are all in that same bracket, Giggs also is in that same bracket with Zidane, Figo and Guardiola. There’s a new trend, new managers, young blood guys who have played the game. Left the game for 5-6 years but finally getting back into management. So I think that is something that is going to be happening next two years, like Zidane, like Pep, like Enrique. I will not be surprised if somebody of Giggs’ calibre takes over at United in the future.

The best player according to you at United?

It’s very difficult to separate because we had so many great players. In terms of consistency and one that everyone would chose simply because he’s so good, let it be training or match, is (Paul) Scholes.

Top players play in other countries but top managers come to EPL. Why?

It’s quite understandable. We acknowledge that the other leagues are very good with quality players. We look at La Liga and they have got the two best players in the world. But the premier league is the attraction. They are fascinated by the intensity, the pace, and the fact that the lower teams could actually have a go. Look at what clubs like Watford have done to the giants. That's the beauty. Its a contest for 10 months through thick and thin. When everywhere else is celebrating and enjoying Christmas, these players are playing and at the game. So the demands for the premier league is so huge, that its become the most successful.

The best you have played against?

We played in the era of (Zinedine) Zidane, (Luis) Figo etc. But, me being a striker, it has to be the original Ronaldo (Brazilian World Cup winner). He was truly the best. The likes of Zidane were equally impressive but Ronaldo stands out.  

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