Dwight Yorke: The journey of the ‘Smiling Hitman’

Over the course of his career he proved himself to be one of the finest strikers in the Premier League with great finishing touch. Dwight Yorke will hope that this ability to hit the target will transition over to the golf course at the ICONS of Football 2017 tournament this summer, so he and his Rest of the World teammates will smile all the way to victory.

Yorke was first discovered by Graham Taylor, the then manager of Aston Villa, who was impressed enough to eventually offer the Trinidad and Tobago International a permanent contract.

Yorke was initially a right winger before making the swap to centre forward where he produced at an elite level. During his time with Aston Villa, Yorke was a crucial part of the club that reached the League Cup Final defeating Leeds United 3-0 in 1996, where he scored in the 88th minute.

Yorke appeared in 196 matches for the Villans, netting 63 goals for the club. Yorke’s high quality of play at Villa drew the attention of Man United leading him to eventually make the switch to Old Trafford. Yorke was transferred to Man United at the start of the 1998-99 season ending the nine years he spent at Aston Villa.

The former Aston Villa star found great success at Manchester United both at an individual level and on the club level. In his first season with the club, they won the unique treble of the Premiership Title, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. The Trinidad and Tobago star was a vital centrepiece in their  Champions League run scoring goals against Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Internazionale and Juventus.

Yorke finished with a League-high 18 goals that campaign and was named the Premier League Player of the Season. While at United, Yorke paired with Andy Cole to become one of the most legendary striking duos in the Premier League and one of the most feared attacking partnerships in Europe. The two were part of a Man United club that won three consecutive Premier League Titles.

It was on this day in 2001 that Yorke had the highest scoring match of his career with three goals and an assist against Arsenal.

In addition to having a very successful club career, the star striker also was an important contributor to the Trinidad and Tobago national club making 72 caps for his home nation. Yorke was a key member of the 2006 team that qualified for the World Cup – the first time a Trinidad squad had qualified for a World Cup in the country’s history. He was one of six members of the team that played every minute of the campaign. As a result of his storied career, Yorke was the first Tobagonian to be inducted into T&T Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

After his time at Manchester United, the goal scoring machine spent two seasons at Blackburn Rover rejoining Andy Cole, his fellow striker at Man United that he found so much success with earlier in their careers. In his first season with the club Yorke netted 13 goals and helped the club qualify for the UEFA Cup. Yorke represented five different Premier League clubs over his storied career and also had a stint in Australia’s A league with Sydney F.C.

Yorke will be remembered as one of the greatest strikers the Premier League has seen and was part of an all time great Man United team of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The Trinidad and Tobago star forward had 123 goals in his 375 caps in Premier League play, Yorke was the first non English player to score 100 goals in the Premiership.

What is even more remarkable is that, despite being known as one of the deadliest and unforgiving strikers of the modern era, Yorke was always seen to be sporting his trademark grin, seemingly wider than any goal he would shoot the ball into. It was this look that made him as endearing to fans, not just of his clubs, but of football. A player who found infectious joy every time he laced up his boots.

As the Rest of the World team prepares to take on the England team in the ICONS of Football 2017 tournament this June, Dwight Yorke will be counted on to help get the win for the ROTW team at The Belfry. One thing is guaranteed – whether he’s on the fairway or in the changing room, Yorke will be wearing a smile that will light up the event.

Tickets for Icons of Football 2017 are available now at icons-series.com