Dwight Yorke Exclusive

Dwight Yorke Exclusive

Speaking to Gambling Zone, former Manchester United, Aston Villa and Sunderland star Dwight Yorke said he’s disappointed the Red Devils are fighting for fourth and not the title despite an upturn in form.

He also identified Pedro Neto as a target for Erik Ten Hag, andremains unconvinced about goalkeeper Andre Onana.

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It’s been a great run of form recently, do you still think Ten Hag is the man to take Man United forward and even win silverware consistently for the club?

DY: “Is Ten Hag the right man for United? Our season hasn’t been good even though results have gone our way.

“For United to be in this position at this crunch point of the season is worrying, we’re only in a battle for fourth place!

“United are fighting with Tottenham and Villa for fourth place and as much as things look beautiful in terms of results, the club is still nowhere near where they need to be.”

Can you see Ten Hag winning big trophies at United?

DY: “Is Ten Hag the man to win big trophies at United? Well, he won the Carabao Cup but he was brought in to win big things and got off to a terrific start last season.

“But despite the good run of fortune today, we’re still out of club competitions and we cannot be thinking that we will win the Premier League. I don’t know where that leaves us at the moment.”

Yorke unsure of Ten Hag

Andre Onana is still seemingly a weak point in the team, are you convinced he can turn it around at Old Trafford?

DY: “When I look at Onana, I often look at players who have been successful at Man United and they really embrace being at Manchester United when they arrive. The ones who get off to really, really bad starts, you will always have that doubt in your mind from fans and players.

“For me now, we have to see how he progresses and for me I just don't see how he’s the answer.

“I don’t think he’s done the job that we bought him for but the reality is that it’s so difficult for the whole team right now and playing brilliantly or not, the team is lacking that x factor right now.”

If you were United's owner, who would be three players the club has to sign in the summer?

DY: “I would sign a central defender for sure but I couldn’t name one right now. I think we need a No 9, somebody up there with a little bit more Premier League experience and a good player like Son for me would be brilliant.

“He’s not like Harry Kane but he’s still got energy and brings so  many goals, so someone like him would attract me very much to go and get.

“These clubs are all competing and to get those kinds of players will be difficult, especially if United don’t get the Champions League next season.”

It’s said Chelsea may well offload Conor Gallagher in the summer, would he be a good replacement for Casemiro?

“Conor Gallagher to Man United? The question is whether Gallagher improves United and I don’t think he does. You can’t go buying players who aren’t better than the ones we already have.

“Is he much better than Mason Mount? I don’t think so and I’m not sure Mason is that good of a player himself.

“Yes Gallagher is a good, athletic player but you’ve still got to be better at Man United and I don’t think he is.”

Pedro Neto from Wolves has been linked in the summer, would that be a good signing?

DY: “I think Pedro Neto would make a difference for Manchester United. I like the look of him and players who come from lesser clubs like Wolves have a point to prove and he could actually make a difference in the United team.”

How impressed have you been with Kobbie Mainoo?

DY: “Mainoo is another protege from the academy and system and we’re seen what he’s capable of doing. He scored a brilliant goal at Wolves and to me right now he has to play in the team,he gives us balance and control.

“He’s still a very young man and a lot is expected of him but he seems very level-headed and he can really play.

Emmanuel Petit says Rashford should look to reinvigorate his career at Arsenal, do you think that’d be wise?

DY: “Rashford to Arsenal? I think that’d be a foolish move.

“Yes, people may think he wants to leave, but for what reason? He’s just signed a new contract and he’s easily, in my opinion, one of the best players at Man United.

“Of course, because of the level he reached last season he hasn’t been able to fulfil his potential.

“As sportsmen you go through phases and I think he will come out on the right side of it.”

Petit thinks Rashford should move to Arsenal

He also said Rashford’s personal life is interfering with his form, would you agree with that?

DY: “With any sportsman, including Rashford, if you’re not happy at work you won’t have a good time.

“Rashford needs to be happy with his surroundings, in training, to perform the way we know he’s capable of doing.

“We don’t know the ins and outs, there’s lots of speculation that he’s not happy, but he may be happy and just out of form.

“I don’t really take too much notice when you hear everybody’s opinions, but I think Rashford is in the right place.”

Frenkie de Jong is again a reported target, do you think United need him if they have Kobbie Mainoo?

DY: “Frenkie de Jong to mentor Mainoo? I think that’d be a good combination as he’s suited to Man United’s midfield. If he were to come, it’d be a nice youthful balance there.

“I’m not sure how old De Jong is but I think he’d give us that X-factor that we need in midfield and a little bit of creativity, which he’s capable of doing, as well as adding legs in midfield.

“He ticks all the boxes and I think the combination of him and Mainoo would be a fabulous one to look forward to next season.”

Lots of clubs are looking at Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao, how much do you know about him?

“I know Nico Williams but I haven’t seen enough of him and wouldn’t like to make an assumption on how he’d do for Man United. 

“From what I’ve seen I think he’s decent. He’s an exciting and skilful player - but United don’t need him as we’re fine on the wings.

“We have enough options, especially if Sancho comes back, and the spine of our team is where we’re lacking.

“We need a star centre-forward, midfielder and centre-back to compete for the major trophies.”

Dan Ashworth is being targeted by the club for their sporting director role – is he the right man for the position?

DY: “I don’t know a lot about Dan Ashworth but I do know who he is. We know the kind of recruitment he’s been doing at Newcastle and that’s clearly drawn our attention to get him to come to our football club.

“Listen, there’s lots of changes at the top and these guys are looking to come to give us a  much more rounded opportunity to bring players in. I’m all for it if the club can get the major players the club want, so I don’t see a problem with these guys coming in.

“At the end of the day, I’m more interested in the football side of things.” 

Ashworth reportedly on United's radar

How impressed have you been with Garnacho?

DY: “I like Garnacho a lot, I like the kid. He has a good amount of energy, creative, still young and still learning the game.

“He’s going to gain a lot of experience in these big games. He can be one of the major players for Man United. This season, he’sprobably been the main player and he’;s doing a fantastic job.”

What about Hojlund?

DY: “I’m very pleased Hojlund has started to score goals. It can take a long time to win people over and if you have a poor start and don’t recover from it, it can really end badly, but he’s done it and I’m pleased for him.

“It’ll be interesting to see how he finishes the season. I think a lot of people will be pleased with how he’s done in the last four weeks.

“He’s now scoring on a regular basis and the Premier League experience will help him too, but this is a young man and he;s still growing and understanding his position, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt right now.” 

What’s your top four prediction for the end of the season?

DY: “I think Liverpool will win the title but you can never write off City. Arsenal and Tottenham will make the top four, so unfortunately Man United and Aston Villa will miss out.”

Jobe Bellingham has continued his amazing form, how good can he be and is he a Premier League player in the making?

DY: “I like Jobe Bellingham a lot and he’s already being talked about like a Premier League player. It seems his position is what a lot of clubs are trying to find.He can definitely be a Premier League player. Someone in Prem will snap him up, I’m sure of it and I know he must be inspired by what he’s doing.

“There’s probably a challenge between them of who will score the most goals and I think Jobe can go all the way to the top, so it’s no surprise he’s already been linked.”

Jim Ratcliffe, what does he need to do to help United return to the glory days?

DY: “I’m glad that the ownership saga has finally been sorted out. What we know from what we read in the media, it looks like he’s coming in to develop the football aspect of the club. He’s taken control and the sporting directors will be in place. That’s fantastic news for the football club. 

“United have gone away from the commercial aspect where we have a team of people focused on bringing the best players in football to the club. That’s a fantastic move and we expect great things from Sir Jim Ratcliffe. If he delivers what he’s promising for the football club, then Man United will be back where the club belongs. It’s an exciting move in itself to have a co-owner that just wants the best for the football club. With the money he has, it can only enhance Man United.”

Future of Old Trafford, should it be revamped or relocated?

“I still think it’s one of the best stadiums in football. It does need a revamp but I think it will take a while for where we want to be. If the £3 billion has been accepted, the infrastructure will need to take place at times and that’s part of the process for Ratcliffe. 

“Moving from Old Trafford wouldn’t be the correct thing to do. The location of Old Trafford is great, it’s well connected for the fans going to the games. The football team also needs to match the stadium as well.” 

Old Trafford needs a revamp

What advice do you have for Erik Ten Hag for rest of season?

DY: “Win more matches and win the games that are winnable. It’s an old cliche but he needs to win more matches and get the team playing a certain brand of football that we like and associate with Manchester United. We don’t see that attacking flair and fluency with United. 

“At least play with a style that represents Manchester United Football Club.” 

Would it be a massive disappointment if Villa miss out on the top four?

DY: “Absolutely. The club will be devastated. They got off to a terrific start and were playing nice, free-flowing football and the balance of the team looks good. Emery was getting the team punching above their weight. 

“But ever since Villa have been spoken about as title contenders, they haven’t been the same. The inexperience of not being in a position of competing for the title, you can see that they have been struggling a little bit so they need to turn their recent form around very quickly if they want to finish in the top four. Even though progress has been made, it would be disastrous for Villa not to finish in a top four spot. “

Current Premier League forwards you’d have loved to have played with?

DY: “You can’t overlook Haaland because of what he’s done. His goal scoring is off the charts. It would be between him and Heung-Min Son. They’re the two best players from an attacking point of view.” 

What’s the first thing you would do if you were in his shoes as an owner? 

DY: “I would address the players and tell them the direction of where he wants the club to go and his intentions and that he expects the team to play at a certain level. 

“The conversation with Erik ten Hag is also important and that he has a vision with his style of play. These introductions will go a very long way and then he can start bringing in players that the manager wants. It can’t be that it’s just the owner that wants these players, the manager and the players need to also buy into the philosophy of playing for this team.” 

Any current players at Man United you’d have loved to have played with in your time at the club?

None of Man United’s players could get in the ‘99 team – they aren’t good enough! I still think Rashford is the best player at the club. Whether it’s personal or he’s not been happy at the club I’m not sure but he is Man United’s best player at the moment. The quicker we realise that and the manager gets his star player playing the way he should play, that’s the most important thing. 

“Rashford is the biggest earner at the club, we just need to get him back playing. Garnacho is also a good player but none of the current players would get into the ‘99 team.”


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