In 1989, a young Dwight Yorke made his name into the first sheet of Aston Villa. This was unusual as he only had a single trial and it impressed then Aston Villa manager so much that he was offered a first-team contract.
That was the beginning of the career of a great striker from the land of Trinidad and Tobago.
Dwight Yorke made his debut for Aston Villa at the age of 18 and was operated as a right-winger during most of his days at the club. He was fast with great shooting and thus, being a right-winger seemed perfect for him.
It was the year 1995 that he was decided to operate as a striker. This change brought out a whole new dimension of Yorke’s career. Though he was a good right-winger, it seemed that much of his qualities were being wasted.
Yorke established himself as a top striker by scoring crucial goals, scoring hat-tricks and putting on excellent fightbacks against the top clubs. Aston Villa lacked the morale of fighting back and thus it led to many failed attempts of Yorke.
There were instances when he failed to win the match even after scoring hat-tricks. Yorke’s performances earned him major interests from top clubs, namely Manchester United. Aston Villa were quite sure that they couldn’t hold back the advances of the English giant and the desire of Yorke to leave Villa to play for a bigger club.
The winter transfer window of 1997-98 season was a very hectic one. Villa wanted a swap deal with Manchester United that would see Dwight Yorke switching for Andy Cole. The transfer failed. In the summer transfer window of 1998-99, Villa had no option but to sell him. Manchester United secured the services for a little over £12m.
Yorke was a starter from Day 1 for Manchester United. He was an integral part of the 1998-99 iconic treble of the Red Devils. His red hot form combined with an extraordinary partnership with Andy Cole were key to the success of the club.
The striker duo of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole is often considered the greatest striker duo in a two-striker system in the history of Premier League. That season was probably the best in the career of Yorke.
He was the winner of the Treble, The Premier League Golden Boot winner, The Premier League Player of the Season and a part of the PFA Team of the Year.
The second season at United was as good as the first one as he scored over twenty goals in all competitions and his partnership with Cole was threatening for the opposition. Their understanding of each other, playing crucial one-twos and helping each other score was a treat for the eyes. The third and final season at the club wasn’t a remarkable one.
He was sold to Blackburn Rovers where he re-united with Andy Cole. The partners in crime had a great time at the club terrorizing defences and even helped Rovers finish sixth in their second and final season, earning a spot for European competition.
He joined Birmingham City the next season but it was quite a wrong decision from his end as he fell out of favour later in the season and his contract was terminated. He joined Sydney FC for a season and it was a good time for Yorke.
He helped them to the A-League title. However, after the season he decided to return to England and joined Sunderland on a two-year deal.
Though the playing time was sporadic, Yorke signed on a one-year extension. His contract was not renewed at the end of the third year and Yorke retired from football in 2009.
Yorke’s international career began in 1989. He was a major part of the squad that failed to qualify for the World Cup by a whisker. Yorke often played as a defensive midfielder for his national team owing to his stature and pace to markdown opponents.
The transition wouldn’t be too difficult for him because he was a pressing striker, forcing opposition defenders to make mistakes by pressing high up the pitch. Yorke helped his nation to a Caribbean Cup in 1989. Yorke retired from international football in 2001 but returned in time to help Trinidad and Tobago qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
He played all the matches for the nation in the World Cup. He retired in 2007 again but returned in a short time to prepare for the 2010 World Cup.
However, he retired from football altogether in 2009 and became the assistant coach of the national team for a season.
Yorke was an excellent finisher. With good passing skills and visions, he was a very versatile player. His crossing was good too. His strength and ball control were his plus points which made him one of the most feared Premier League strikers of the time.
Yorke is one of the greatest players to ever play in the Premier League. The greatest footballer Trinidad and Tobago ever produced, Yorke is now the Sports Ambassador of the nation. Yorke is also considered a Manchester United legend and Aston Villa legend.