Sydney FC and A-League All Stars Assistant Coach Rob Stanton has revealed how he and Dwight Yorke first met 31 years ago, before teaming up again this week to take on Barcelona on Wednesday night.
Stanton is helping Head Coach Yorke prepare the All Stars to face the Spanish giants at Accor Stadium and he says planning is going well.
“It’s been quite busy, we’ve had one training session where we’ve been trying to build some cohesion and team building among the players,” said Stanton.
“It’s about getting to know them quickly and getting to know Dwight and what he likes.
“A lot of the players are not on the same physical training loads having finished the season at different times, so it’s been quite challenging trying to get everyone ready but enjoyable as well.”
However, Wednesday night will not be the first time Stanton and Yorke have shared the same stadium.
The 50-year old’s locked horns aged 19 in Portugal when representing their countries back in 1991.
“I met him 30 years ago when Australia played against Trinidad and Tobago at the World Youth Cup,” Stanton continued.
“Steve Corica and myself were there and he was the Captain of Trinidad. He remembers the tournament.
“It has been good to connect with him again and get to know him as well as listen to some of his experiences at Manchester United which is amazing.”
The Australian’s who were also represented by the likes of Kevin Muscat, Tony Popovic and Mark Bosnich won the game 2-0 with goals from David Seal and Paul Okon.
The young Aussies finished fourth at the tournament, defeated on penalties by the Soviet Union in the third place play-off, and were also behind runners-up Brazil and winners Portugal.
While Wednesday’s match won’t be as important as those games, Stanton says it’s still a fantastic opportunity for the players to test themselves against the best.
“We want them to go out and enjoy it and to play with a bit of courage,” he said.
“It will be a great experience after a long season and a chance for them to enjoy the occasion.
“I think it will be good for the game against one of the real quality teams from La Liga and it should be a real eye opener for the fans who come to watch.
“You can see Barcelona are building something with some real special young talent and big names like some big names De Jong, Dembele and Aubaumeyang.
“Even Dani Alves and Jordi Alba are real quality and if these guys play then it should be a really special event for the fans.
“I think Barca can be one of the dominant teams in world football once again.”