There are few honours that Dwight Yorke has not achieved in a glittering club career. Hitting the highs at Manchester United, the 34-year-old has English Premier League, FA Cup and European Champions League winners' medals and even struck Toyota Cup gold in 1999. Five years on, the skilful Tobago striker is back in Japan on the prowl for more glory with new club Sydney FC.
Talking exclusively to FIFA.com ahead of the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005, Yorke told of his new experience Down Under, hopes for Sydney and the thrill of Trinidad & Tobago's qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™.
Fifa.com: Living in Australia is no doubt very different from the fish-bowl existence for top players in the English Premier League…How have you settled in Australia?
Dwight Yorke: I've settled really well, especially in Sydney. It was well documented that I had been here a lot on holiday and I genuinely enjoy the place so it has been easy in that respect. People here are very friendly and nice and I have had no problems at all. The hardest part has been the travelling to and from Trinidad for the World Cup qualifiers but that has been well worth it after we qualified for the World Cup.
Do you think Sydney FC are capable of making an impression at the FIFA Club World Championship?
We're going there to do the best for ourselves, Sydney FC and for Australian football. We're not going to Japan to make up the numbers, we are going there to win football games and that starts with the first game against Deportivo Saprissa. We will be doing our best to win that game and that obviously sets us up against Liverpool so we’ll take it one game at a time.
You have no doubt played Costa Rican opposition on a number of occasions. Will Deportivo Saprissa start as favourites for their match against Sydney FC?
I haven't really seen Deportivo Saprissa play as such but we know we have a tough task ahead of us but as we've said there are more ingredients in winning football matches than the technical aspects of the game. We've a strong desire to do well and a fighting spirit we believe will help us to do well.
On the field what have been your impressions of the A-League and does it differ from your expectations prior to arriving in Australia?
It has actually been pretty good. It is a step down from the Premier League of course but it is a fast game and the players here are very fit. Some of my Sydney FC team mates have played in Europe and a few have said it is a bit like the Championship in England but not quite as direct in the style of play.
Is Sydney FC well prepared for the tournament or is the fact that the team has only been together for six months a hindrance?
The team may have only been together since February but we have some very experienced players. Kazu's experience speaks for itself and there are a number of players at Sydney FC who have played many times for the Australian National Team, guys like David Zdrilic, Sasho Petrovski, Steve Corica and Clint Bolton so I don’t think it will be a major factor.
Will the experience you have had competing against different types of football in the Toyota Cup in 1999 and also playing in European club competition be something that can assist the younger players in the squad?
I've managed to learn things at every club I have played for and every match I have played in. That is what being a professional footballer is all about. It is something I try to pass onto the younger players every day not just because of this tournament.
What does FIFA World Cup qualification mean for football in Trinidad & Tobago?
Making the World Cup means everything for Trinidad & Tobago. We are only a very small country of 1.3 million people in the Caribbean so for us it is a great achievement. It is also good for the people of Trinidad as it puts our country on the world map
How does the achievement for Trinidad & Tobago rank against all the other achievements in your career?
It is right up there with the best things I've been able to achieve in football. I have been fortunate enough to win some amazing things, especially during my time at Manchester United but making the World Cup is just as important for me.
Did you watch Australia's matches against Uruguay and how do you think playing at the finals will affect football in Australia?
I couldn't watch it because I was getting ready to play in our World Cup qualifier but I was on the phone a few times during the match to get score updates and I was really pleased for Australia when I heard they had won the game. It will have a massive impact in the game in Australia. It is hard to describe what a great lift it has given to the profile of the sport in Australia but it is fair to say that the whole country is still talking about it.