Dwight Yorke: United’s rise will take time

The former Manchester United star was in Bengaluru alongside Quinton Fortune for the screening of the United-Liverpool game on Sunday.

Dwight Yorke (right) and Quinton Fortune, former Manchester United players, at an event in Bengaluru.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

For a generation of Manchester United fans, the predicament that the current team faces is their first brush with something close to turmoil. Devoid of the calming figure that their talismanic manager Sir Alex Ferguson was, coupled with the fact that the Premier League is a far tougher place than it was in the club’s glory days of the late 1990s and the 2000s, it has quickly transcended into a identity crisis of sorts under manager Louis van Gaal.

On Sunday, when Dwight Yorke, the striker of treble-winning fame (1999), was in the city for the screening of the United-Liverpool game, questions hovered around the same and a bit more.

Excerpts:

On the struggles after Alex Ferguson left: In terms of team achievement and the heights that Sir Alex had set for himself and the club, we haven't quite achieved those yet. When you are in a transitional period like we are, it’s going to take sometime. When you have been so successful over the years, its hard to come in and get up to that level.

On not playing the ‘United way’: Every manager has his own concept. When we play for Manchester United, we become entertainers as much as we are winners. What the fans are saying is they are not being entertained enough. Truth be told United has not been entertaining enough. I think the fans are entitled to their opinion.

On Ferguson making stars out of youngsters: The club has big history in terms of local talent; people who understand what the football club represents – from Bryan Robson to Ryan Giggs and now Wayne Rooney. Now we have a lot of foreign players, maybe not quite educated about what the club is. But I’d like some time to be given to guys like Jesse [Lingard] and [Adnan] Januzaj, people who have been at the club from a tender age.

On the best managers wanting to come to England even as the best players play outside: It’s quite understandable. We acknowledge that the other leagues are very good. 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. It’s a contest for 10 months through thick and thin.

On Ryan Giggs as manager: There’s a new trend – young guys who have played the game, but finally getting back into management. Giggs is in that same bracket with [Zinedine] Zidane and Pep [Guardiola]. So I see that happening in the future.