Roy Keane of all people shouldn’t have done this. Keane whose spat with Mick McCarthy led to the Irish legend missing World Cup 2002 has now seemingly pulled a stunt of equal temerity. Bowing to pressure from Keane, Dwight Yorke, the captain of Trinidad and Tobago has withdrawn from the squad due to take on the US tomorrow at Toyota Park in what for Yorke’s team is a critical World Cup qualifier. While this great news for the US team, it’s bad news for international football as a whole and the CONCACAF region where Yorke is probably among the three or four best known players.
Yorke who played with Keane at Manchester United has been the glue that has held together Trinidad and Tobago’s footballing side for years now. Often seen as a selfish goal poacher and night life aficionado in his United days, Yorke has reinvented himself as a hard working, resourceful midfielder much in the mold of non other than Roy Keane himself.
I am feeling caught between a rock and a hard place with my club and my country,” Yorke told the Trinidad Express Newspaper. “I want to play against the U.S. but I don’t know if I will be allowed to.” Keane has stated he wants Yorke to be ready for Saturday’s clash with Wigan.
The actions of Keane are not only inconsiderate, but threaten the careful balance struck between club football and national team service during FIFA blackout periods. My suggestion is that CONCACAF urge FIFA to clarify to Sunderland for the next group of World Cup qualifiers in October that Yorke’s release is not optional: it is mandatory.