Sat, Jul


SHAKA HISLOP always knew Dwight Yorke would set Manchester United alight.

The West Ham keeper had no worries that the suffocating strain of that record pounds 12.6m move from Aston Villa would get to his boyhood pal.

That's because Yorke is British soccer's Calypso Kid, a smiling but smouldering strike assassin, whose 29 goals have buttressed United's treble glory charge.

Hislop said: "Yes, some strikers have suffered under the pressure of big money moves to United in the past.

"But Dwight is extremely laid back even though he's very passionate about the game and cares deeply about it.

"But he's also able to take a lot on his shoulders and not let it bother him. How? I don't know - it's just part of his personality.

"So he's taken it all in his stride ... even all the media interest over his private life.

"Dwight has taken that square on and he's continued to produce the goods. He's got a lot of goals already and can certainly carry on scoring.

"He's gone through a little bit of a lean spell - lean by his standards, probably no one else's - but he will go on banging in the goals.

"And I'm sure he will play a key role in whatever trophies Manchester United win this season."

Hislop, 30, first met Tobagan Yorke, when the striker was eight and he was 10.

They played in the national schools team, along with current West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara - and the three have remained close friends ever since.

And Dwight and Shaka joined up again recently to help a Trinidad side beat World Cup finalists Jamaica 2-0.

Now Yorke, 27, can claim one leg of a unique treble in the FA Cup Final.

Hislop said: "I'd love to see United win the title, simply for Dwight's sake. We've talked about it and I know exactly how much it would mean to him.

"It's something he's spoke about ever since there was the wrangling going on with Aston Villa and Manchester United before the move actually went through.

"His move to Manchester United was all about trophies, it was not about money, I can assure you of that and it would be great for him to have that on his mantelpiece.

"I think he's had an exceptional season and probably it's the least he and the rest of the United team deserves.

"We all know how hard it is to beat Arsenal and how formidable a team they are.

"But all in all I think Manchester United are probably the best and most exciting team.

"It's very hard going for three trophies but the results against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final replay and beating Juventus in the Champions' Cup gave them a great lift.

"It's difficult to see them being stopped - and that's just great for Dwight."