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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Denis Irwin the first name on my list of greatest team ever, says Alex Ferguson

Published 30/10/2013 | 10:47

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Denis Irwin
Denis Irwin
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson talks tactics with David Beckham and Denis Irwin (left)
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson talks tactics with David Beckham and Denis Irwin (left)
Denis Irwin celebrates scoring Ireland's first goal from the penalty spot in the European Championship Qualifier versus Croatia in 1998. Picture Credit: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE.

DENIS IRWIN would be the first name on Alex Ferguson’s list of the greatest players he’s worked with.

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Ferguson managed some of the best players in world football during his time at Manchester United but insists unsung Corkman Irwin would be the first name on his greatest team line-up.

The Ireland full-back was bought from Oldham in 1990 for just over £600,000 and although during his 12 years at the club he racked up seven league titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, one European Cup and one Cup Winners' Cup, he remained a low-key figure in comparison to some of his more illustrious team-mates.

However, Ferguson regards Irwin as peerless when it comes to choosing his finest 11 Red Devils.

"People ask you who is your best Man United team, "said the former Old Trafford boss at a question and answer evening in Glasgow to coincide with the publication of his autobiography.

"It is absolutely impossible. You look at the strikers I had, going back to (Brian) McClair, (Mark) Hughes, (Andy) Cole, (Eric) Cantona, (Ruud) van Nistelrooy, (Louis) Saha, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, (Dwight) Yorke, Teddy Sheringham.

Then to the present players, Wayne Rooney, (Robin) van Persie, Chicharito (Xavier Hernandez).

"How do you pick out of that? Cantona and somebody else?

"The midfield was probably a bit easier because you have (Roy) Keane, (Bryan) Robson and (Paul) Scholes, they were fantastic players and (David) Beckham, (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Ryan) 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 10.

"At Highbury in one game he had a bad pass back in the last minute and (Dennis) Bergkamp came in and scored.

"After the game the press said 'you must be disappointed in that pass back.'

"I said, 'well, one mistake in 10 years isn't bad.' He was an unbelievable player."

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