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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 31 July, 2014

Fergie says Denis Irwin would be in his greatest Man United XI

Sir Alex Ferguson has highlighted the esteem in which he holds the Irish defender.

Irwin made 529 appearances for Man Utd.
Irwin made 529 appearances for Man Utd.
Image: Steve White/EMPICS Sport

IT TAKES A pretty special player to get into Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest team at Manchester United, but that’s exactly what Irishman Denis Irwin was.

Fergie was asked about his best United line-up from the 26-and-a-bit years he spent in charge of the Premier League giants at a question and answers session in Glasgow to launch his autobiography. And while it proved difficult to make a decision in nearly every position, the Scot had no hesitation in highlighting Irwin’s claims.

“People ask you who is your best Man United team. It is absolutely impossible. You look at the strikers I had, going back to McClair, Hughes, Cole, Cantona, van Nistelrooy, Saha, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Yorke, Teddy Sheringham.

“Then to the present players, Wayne Rooney, van Persie, Chicharito; How do you pick out of that? Cantona and somebody else? The midfield was probably a bit easier because you have Keane, Robson and Scholes, they were fantastic players and Beckham, Ronaldo and Giggs.

But honestly, I would say Denis Irwin would be the one certainty to get in the team. I called him an eight out of ten.”

Never one for the limelight, Irwin joined Man United from Oldham in 1990, having begun his professional career with Leeds United. The Cork native went on to win seven league titles, a Champions League, three FA Cups, a League Cup and one Cup Winners’ Cup over 12 years with the Manchester club.

The 47-year-old fully deserves this acknowledgment from Ferguson for his loyal and decisive service at Old Trafford.

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