Dwight Yorke: Giggs should replace van Gaal
Dwight Yorke, part of magical Treble-winning United side of '99, says LVG hasn't delivered
The Premier League was still known as the First Division when he started bombing down the left wing for Manchester United in 1991, as the Red Devils started their sprint to the pinnacle of the English game.
He has stood tall during their most vital moments, and Ryan Giggs is still critical for the Red Devils today.
According to former United front man Dwight Yorke, Giggs is the best man to drag the club out of its post-Sir Alex Ferguson hangover, and back to the top - not Louis van Gaal.
Yorke was part of United's magical 1999 vintage that won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League Treble, and he believes the critics who have been at the throat of Dutch manager for much of the season have good reason to.
Speaking to The New Paper on the sidelines of a meet-and-greet at The Chop House - one of six SME winners from among Singtel's Business ICT solutions users - Yorke asserts that it is a matter of time before van Gaal leaves the club.
"At the end of the day, it's all about results and in the two years that (van Gaal's) been there, he's spent tons of money, brought in tons of players, and simply hasn't got the results that he and everyone else had hoped to have achieved this year," said Yorke.
"You see a lot of young managers, Zinedine Zidane's been given the opportunity at Real Madrid, you got Luis Enrique at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola who's coming to Manchester City, Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino, they're all ex-players.
"And I feel that the game is going down that road, and maybe this is the right time to give Giggsy the job... he's had three seasons now, and if he's not going to learn anything under the two managers, (David) Moyes and van Gaal, then when are they going to give him the job?"
Yorke believes that van Gaal's system, which prefers defensive solidarity over attacking verve, goes against the grain of what United have stood for.
"Over the past two decades under Sir Alex, it was all about entertainment, exciting football, trying to outscore the opponents as best as possible," said the 44-year-old former Trinidad and Tobago international.
"To go from one to the other extreme, it's hard for everyone to take, and that's the reason we're struggling - the mentality has gone from attacking to a defensive one," said Yorke.
"All well and good if (van Gaal is) successful doing what he does, winning trophies, being in the Champions League quarter-finals, or winning the FA Cup and on top of the Premier League.
"But none of those things is happening, so I think it's fair criticism of how the team's playing at the moment."
United still stand a chance at trophies this season. They face West Ham in the FA Cup quarter-final tomorrow night and they trail hated rivals Liverpool by two goals as Old Trafford hosts the second leg of the Europa League last-16 contest next week.
Yorke also asserts that players in the squad have also not stepped up.
"When you look back at the history of United, there was always some major star we've been blessed with, some kind of superstar.
"You look at the current team, who would you think is the superstar there? I mean, there's nobody outstanding. No one has taken the bull by the horns and saying, right, 'I'll be the star of this team'," said Yorke, who thinks that reports linking United's bid for Barcelona star Neymar is exactly what the Red Devils need.
"We need to get back to that, we need to be seen that we can still attract the best players, and I won't be surprised if it's someone like Neymar, he's one of the top five players in the world right now."
Yorke believes the Brazilian will be perfect despite doubts about the ability of the Brazilian to adapt to the physicality of the English game.
"I think once you're a good player, it doesn't matter, you fit in, or other players fit around you, that's how it works," said Yorke, his trademark beaming smile flashing from under his cap.
"Is it important what Rio Ferdinand is saying, is that important to you? We did not cope with the high pressure of Liverpool. We had expected that and for me it was a surprise we did not cope with it because they did it at their home match this year"
— Manchester united manager Louis van Gaal on the criticism of Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes after the 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Europa League yesterday morning
Former Man United striker Yorke says he wants the Aston Villa manager's job
He donned the claret and blue of Aston Villa for nine years before he was lured to Old Trafford by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Dwight Yorke believes that he is the right man to helm Villa now, as the famous English club look for a miracle to avoid the dreaded drop into the second-tier Championship.
Speaking to The New Paper at the sidelines of a meet-and-greet at The Chop House - one of six SME winners from among SingTel's Business ICT solutions users, Yorke, who was top scorer in the 1998-99 English Premier League season with 18 goals, announced he was ready to jump back into football.
"Aston Villa are a team I played for almost nine years, and I have an affiliation with the fans. The club were top six in the Premiership for a number of years, and to see where they are at the present time really breaks my heart, and it's something I felt - that if they need to have a turn in fortunes, I feel that I can turn it around for them, if they give me the opportunity to do that," said the former Manchester United star.
Villa are rock bottom of the 20-team Premier League standings, their return of 16 points from 29 games leaving them needing a miracle to survive the dreaded drop.
In Singapore for a promotional stint till tomorrow, Yorke threw his name in the hat for the Villa job when Tim Sherwood was axed in October last year, but the board went for Frenchman Remi Garde, instead.
"I've taken a sabbatical out of football for a while, worked in the media. At the age of 44 I feel that it's the right time for me to get back into it, and the manager job is something I feel strongly about.
"I feel that I have the character and the personality to get the best out of the players," said the ever-smiling Yorke, who is not shying away from slugging it out in the Championship, if Villa do - as most expect them to - drop.
"They're a club I know very well, the structure is very strong, and if they go into the Championship next year, I played there when I was 36 in that league, and won the league with Sunderland, so I feel I have the experience and what it takes to win that championship down there, turn their fortunes around and bring them back into the Premier League where I believe they belong," said the former Trinidad and Tobago international.
"The longer that (promotion) takes, as we all know, its going to be harder. They need a quick turnaround and they need the right man in to get them back into the Premiership as quickly as possible."
Villa are not the only option Yorke will consider.
"Of course you have to be given that opportunity, whether it's in England or here in Singapore, or in Asia, who's to tell, but I am seeking job employment in that department in the near future," he said, pointing to China clubs' recent activity in the transfer market as a sign of slow shift in football's balance of power.
He said: "In terms of the number of players, the money that is being invested into china and Asia, I feel that with the fan base in this part of the world, there is a strong reason to come here and help develop the sport."
- SHAMIR OSMAN
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