Interview: Dwight Yorke previews Manchester United's season

Sports Mole previews the season ahead, as well as the Wayne Rooney situation with former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke.

There is new era underway at Manchester United following Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to step down as manager after almost 27 years at the helm.

He has been replaced by David Moyes, who himself created a legacy during his 11 years in charge of Everton.

With the new Premier League season due to get underway this weekend, Sports Mole caught up with former United striker Dwight Yorke to preview the next few months from the club's perspective, as well as discussing the future of Wayne Rooney and the potential possessed by Wilfried Zaha.

As it stands, the bookmakers rate United as third favourites behind Manchester City and Chelsea to win the Premier League title. Is that fair?
"How these bookies work, I'm not a fan of it - United have proved that they are the team to beat. In the previous season they lost on goal difference and then to regain the Premier League in the manner that they did this year, 11 points ahead, I just can't see how they could be made third favourites. The start of the new era may be in their thoughts, but you can't rule United out at all. With David Moyes coming in now there is going to be a lot of determination in the main. That consistency of wanting to win trophies remains the same."

Manchester United manager David Moyes on the touchline during the Community Shield match against Wigan on August 11, 2013© Getty Images

Is it simply down to the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer the manager?
"Clearly. If Sir Alex Ferguson was still in that position it would make Man United the clear favourites. However, it is the start of a new challenge with Moyes at the helm. But whoever is in charge, the winning mentality of the players and that football club will not change. Obviously with Jose Mourinho coming in at Chelsea and other players moving around it will change some opinions, but for me United are the clear favourites."

One of the major talking points surrounding David Moyes's stint in charge so far has centred around Wayne Rooney. Is there any way back for the striker at Old Trafford?
"You've got to remember that this guy is 27. Having played the game myself, that is the ultimate age – he should be at his peak for the next three or four years. I don't get why United would sell a player that can inflict so much damage on the opposition. When he is on song, he is arguably the best player in the Premier League. There are a lot of rumours flying around, but I can't see him leaving."

Gary Neville recently said that United cannot afford to sell him to Chelsea. Is that something you agree with?
"I agree in terms of you can't sell him, period. When you look around at that United squad, if you add Wayne Rooney to it you've got to give yourself every chance. With David Moyes coming in, why would he want to sell his best player? I just don't get it. We are talking about one of the biggest clubs in the world – why would he want to go anywhere? You cannot afford to lose someone of Wayne's quality at 27 years of age. I've been there myself, you're coming into your prime."

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United on December 9, 2012© Getty Images

You've spent time with the club during their pre-season tour. Has much changed from Ferguson to Moyes?
"It's the same as usual, it's just been getting used to a new man in charge. It's also about Moyes getting used to the club and how Manchester United works. The players have an insight and they already know exactly what is expected. Moyes will have been briefed by Sir Alex Ferguson – he doesn't need a lot when you think about in terms of what the club is all about. It's about success and having these players that continue to perform at the very highest level, as well as winning trophies and I'm sure that hasn't changed. Yes, the manager has changed, but there is a lot of determination in Moyes to get it right."

How impressed have you been by the way that Moyes has carried himself so far?
"I've been in a press conference with him and saw him speak out and he was very, very impressive. I'd met him on a few occasions, but having seen him work up close and what he is doing, I've been extremely impressed."

Someone that the club has been heavily linked with after missing out on Cesc Fabregas is Marouane Fellaini. Is he the type of player that United need?
"The manager knows what he needs. Every good player out there, United are always trying to sign them. Fellaini coming in? Is he the missing link? I'm not so sure. If you ask me about Fabregas, that would be a quality acquisition to the squad. With the likes of Paul Scholes retiring, Giggsy is coming to the end and Rio is 35 – United need to start replacing these players. Doing that has been the strength of United in the past, replacing quality with quality. David Moyes will be aware of that and he will bring in the players that are required."

Manchester United's Wilfried Zaha controls the ball against Kitchee during their football friendly match at Hong Kong stadium on July 29, 2013© Getty Images

Someone that has arrived this summer is Wilfried Zaha, who was arguably one of the better performers during pre-season. How have you rated his start to life as United player?
"It's a new environment for the kid, but he's done well so far. He's shown already that he has plenty of skill and is very comfortable on the football. As time goes on, he will continue to develop. Yes, he was one of the better players during pre-season, but he is new to the whole thing. He wants to impress and seems like a very shy guy that just wants to play – that is a good sign. For him to get into the England squad now can only be a good thing, both for him and Manchester United."

Do you feel he can nail down a place in the team this season? After all, Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young all struggled for form last term, didn't they?
"It's big year for all of those players. They've all been there a few years now under Sir Alex, but with the new manager coming in, they all know that they are under trial really. That's how it is at United – if you're not performing, you're out the door. These players will probably in their own mind, without anybody having to tell them, know that they underperformed last season. They weren't at the level that we expected them to be at and I'm sure that they have higher expectations of themselves. They need a big year. I'm expecting the wide players to have a massive improvement. It's not going to be all about Zaha because the other three need to raise the bar as well. Who is to say they won't, especially with the new manager in charge?"

What would represent a successful first season for Moyes in your opinion? Winning the Premier League? Or is just about competing for the title and perhaps winning the FA Cup or League Cup to make it an acceptable start?
"Winning the title – that is always the paramount at United. There is no second or third, no winning just the League Cup. The Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup – they are all part of United's aspirations every year. Finishing runners-up or lower is not really in their vocabulary."

Sky kicks off its biggest ever Premier League season with live coverage of Swansea v Man Utd on Sky Sports 1, Sky 2 and Pick TV on August 17.

Wigan Athletic players celebrate on the pitch after beating Manchester City to win the FA Cup on May 11, 2013
Read Next:
Preview: Community Shield: United vs. Wigan
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

1Manchester CityMan City65102121916
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd65101721516
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs6321105511
8Huddersfield TownHuddersfield62315329
10Newcastle UnitedNewcastle63036519
12West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom622246-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton621357-27
15Swansea CitySwansea612337-45
16Stoke CityStoke6123510-55
17Leicester CityLeicester6114912-34
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham6114613-74
20Crystal Palace6006013-130