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Dwight Yorke speaks to SafeBettingSites

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Former Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke spoke to www.safebettingsites.com to share his thoughts on new manager Eric Ten Haag, Cristiano Ronaldo and the Old Trafford transfer policy and his predictions for the 2022-23 season.

Watch the full interview below.

Full Transcript of interview.

Journalists note: Feel free to use all quotes in publications but please reference www.safebettingsites.com.

Q: What’s gone wrong with player recruitment at Man Utd this summer?

Yorke: There’s a simple solution (answer?). United have always been in a position of power and strength being among the top European teams so ‘selling’ United to top players has never really been an issue. But what’s transpired in the last 3 to 5 years is that United are now not doing what they have become accustomed to, which was qualifying for the Champions League and winning major trophies. When you’re not doing that and major teams like Man City and Liverpool are doing what they’re doing, of course the younger players are switching to wanting to be with teams that are winning stuff now. Now what we’re seeing is that United are really not in a position to dictate player transfers like they used to. Certainly the wage factor is not an issue for these other clubs anymore, with players earning vast amounts of money at various clubs. So choosing between the United of old and the current United it’s quite straightforward. Going after players who are hesitant to come into the club.. it’s a kind of no brainer really, when you’re not qualifying for the CL you’re always on the back foot.

Q: Regarding the De Jong situation and Ronaldo wanting to leave, do you feel United are in turmoil?

Yorke: There’s no question that the club has got some issues, they’ve just had their worst season since the Premier League started. The situation is carrying on into this season because their best player is not committing himself even though he’s got another year left on his contract and he’s telling the club he wants to leave. And then you think of what the club is doing in terms of signing players. I had a conversation with Frenkie De Jong at the All Star game (A-League All Stars vs Barcelona in May), and you know before that would’ve been a done deal (De Jong to Man Utd) and you look at his circumstances where he’s playing with a massive club and even though the money is an issue he has the opportunity to play CL football there. The players we are chasing are in such powerful positions it’s very difficult to lure them away to come to United. The club have kicked themselves in the teeth and can’t attract the best players any more, no CL football is a serious issue and it’s getting more and more difficult by the year. Players and agents are looking from the outside and thinking ‘that is not the place I want to be right now with all that stuff going on’. So we need to get that turned around and get the club back on track.

Q: With Leicester and West Ham outscoring Man Utd last season, will Ten Hag be concerned that Rashford, Martial and Sancho won’t contribute enough goals?

Yorke: We do have top quality players, I strongly believe that, but they’re still somewhat unproven at the top level. By that I mean they haven’t done it consistently and that’s what is a little bit alarming. [Excerpt taken from later in interview] But I do think that while they don’t have enough in the team to win the Premier League, they certainly do have the quality in order to finish in the top four.

Q: What does Ten Hag and Manchester United need to do to get Marcus Rashford’s career back on track?

Yorke: I’m a huge fan of Rashford, I’ve seen him up close, I’ve watched him train and I really like the kid. His work off the pitch is admirable of course but when you lose your way in the team and you’re not performing at such a big club you’re going to get criticised, it comes with the territory. I do believe that he’s been mishandled by the previous manager in my opinion. I feel that with the experience I had when I was in a similar position at Aston Villa, when you get a manager who comes in and gives you a bit of love and tells you you are the best thing ever. I think Rashford is one of those players, and when you know him like I do, I think that he would benefit from that. I think he needs to be told he’s going to play week in week out and I really do believe United have one of the best youngsters in the Premier League in Rashford. Obviously he wasn’t able to fulfil expectations last season but give him an arm round the shoulder and I hope you will see him come back firing under the new regime and you will have an unbelievable player who will score you close to 20+ goals a season. This kid needs an arm around him but he needs it in the correct way and not as a token gesture. People forget how long he’s been at the club, he’s a Manc through and through and knows the club inside out. He’s just about the only player that connects the club from the academy all the way through to the first XI. Manchester is in his blood and they need to get that fire back in his belly.

Q: How much emphasis do you see Ten Hag putting on the Europa League and the two domestic Cup competitions this season? 

Yorke: I think Man Utd have to focus on every competition that they’re in. I don’t think they can pick and choose because they’re simply not as dominant as they used to be. They really have to go with the flow and try to progress as high up in every competition to give themselves the best possible chance of qualifying for Europe. Are we saying they’re going to win the FA Cup? We don’t know, are we saying they’re going to win the League Cup? I’m not sure but the Europa League is a big competition for United whether they like it or not as players of course they’d rather be in the Champions League but they simply don’t have a choice. I don’t think they can pick and choose like United used to do. Back in the day Sir Alex Ferguson could make nine changes (without compromising quality) but Ten Hag won’t have that luxury. He’s got to win the maximum number of games with the players available and treat every game as a cup final.

Can you see Guardiola ever catching Fergie in terms of Prem titles? 

Yorke: No (laughs). I was lucky enough to play golf with Pep in the Caribbean and pick his brains a little bit. I can’t tell you exactly what was said but he’s a very interesting character and I learned so much from being around him and I must mention that I did beat him at golf (laughs). It was fascinating but I don’t see him sticking around at City long enough to get close to 13 titles, he’s got other ambitions I’m sure. But hopefully the likes of United and Chelsea will close that gap (on City) over the next few years.

Q: Top Six predictions?

Yorke: It will be interesting with Mane leaving Liverpool to see what effect that will have this season but Luis Diaz seems to be a fantastic replacement for him. They have made a couple of changes so it will be interesting to see how that front three play together and whether they will still have that same level of firepower without Mane. With City adding Erling Haaland to their squad a player I think United made a big mistake in not doing more to recruit him, especially with Ole being at the helm earlier on we maybe had the opportunity to sign him. So we missed the boat on that but yeah i really think City will be hard to beat and Chelsea will be there or thereabouts. I think Tottenham will have gained some confidence in terms of what they’ve done under Antonio Conte at the back end of last season, nicking that fourth place. I think Arsenal are finally closing the gap and I think they’ve made interesting signings with the two lads from City, Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus.

Q: Did you ever establish why Aston Villa never responded to you on any of the three occasions that you applied for the managerial job at the club?

Yorke: What I’ve found out in football is that while you’re a player your job is to entertain the fans and yes the club may love you during that time, but down the line there is no commitment to you whatsoever should you apply for those jobs (as manager). I understand that I didn’t complete my pro licence and that’s probably part of the reason why it never really happened for me (at Villa). I know that in football it’s not entirely true that you can’t get a job without it because I know players who have been given job with very little qualifications, but that’s beside the point. I still did learn a lot from that situation. Instead of letting it deter me or knock me back it actually inspired me even moreso, hence why I went and completed my pro licence and crossed the ‘Ts’ and dotted the ‘Is’. And while doing that over the last two years I’ve gained a lot of experience, learning the job and studying the trade while talking to other managers along the way. So as much as it was a disappointing experience when you’ve spent nine years at a football club (to get snubbed) it has actually opened my eyes and helped me realise that you shouldn’t expect any favours. You’ve got to go and do the job and do it correctly. It’s certainly made me a better person and I’m now a better equipped manager going forward and it certainly hasn’t knocked my confidence, if anything it’s inspired me to be even more successful and go to the full lengths required to become a top manager.

Q: How do you rate England’s chances in the World Cup?

Yorke: Having played along Gareth Southgate for four years and knowing him as an individual and met him again in recent times while doing my pro licence it’s been interesting to hear how he achieved his position as England boss. I spent a few minutes with him talking about management and stuff and as an England fan we’ve seen England have their chances but let them slide you know in the Euros and the last World Cup where they had a really good chance to do the unthinkable. I just think it’s hard because some of the nations have closed the gap on England again. I just feel like when those opportunities are there and you don’t really grasp it, it’s hard to go back and rekindle those moments four years later. I hope I’m wrong but I just see England coming up short again and it will be another disappointment. They’ve had two bites of the cherry but in those big moments England struggle to get it done. I think it’s an open tournament this time around, France is not as dominant, Belgium being World Number one but still haven’t done anything at major tournaments. The Germans are making inroads again, your Brazils and Argentinas are always in the mix. But for me I can’t see it being England’s year.


Neil Roarty is a gambling industry veteran with over 15 years experience writing and editing in both Europe and North America. He is a regular speaker at gambling conferences and appears as an author in many industry publications.

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