It takes a certain kind of player to muster up the will and the hunger to carry on playing at the highest level past their 38th birthday. And in Denis Irwin, Sir Alex knew he’d found someone special.
Denis was born in 1965, in Cork, Ireland. He joined United from Oldham Athletic, after impressing in an epic FA Cup semi-final against the Reds. As a reliable left back with an eye for goal, he excelled for both club and country, playing 529 times for United, and earning 56 caps for Ireland.
In 12 years at Old Trafford, Mr Dependable became the second most decorated player in the club’s history; cramming his trophy cabinet with seven Premier League winner medals, three FA Cup medals, one Champions League winners medal amongst other silverware from his acclaimed career. He even took home a Championship winners medal when he left United, after helping Wolves return to the top flight, in his penultimate year as a professional footballer.
In 2004, he finally hung up his boots and returned to Old Trafford, to present, analyse and discuss all things United for MUTV. And as one of the club’s greatest ever signings, there’s no one better qualified.
Ferguson described him as his "little diamond".
For his final game as a Manchester United player, Alex Ferguson awarded him the captain's armband
Ask Irwin his greatest moment in the sport and he thinks first of the Cup Winners' Cup win, then United's first championship in 27 seasons, then the double, then the double again.