One of the modern Manchester United greats, Denis Irwin’s career was one of steady progression to the biggest stage for club and country – where he proved a natural, if often underrated performer, offering sterling service at left-back, with a keen eye for goal.
The former Leeds United trainee was a £625,000 capture from Oldham Athletlc in 1990, having impressed during that year’s epic FA Cup semi-final tussle against the Reds. His first season with United, 1990/91, presaged by a World Cup quarter-final with Jack Charlton’s unfancied Repubic of Ireland, culminated in European Cup Winners' Cup glory in Rotterdam.
But it was the 1992/93 Championship-winning season in which Irwin really established himself. Ever-present, he weighed in with five goals, chief among them a 30-yard belter against Coventry City.
He was the solitary ever-present during the Double-winning campaign of 1993/94, and was a cornerstone of the side that repeated the feat in 1996. Forced to miss the FA Cup leg of 1999’s Treble through suspension, he was back for the Nou Camp Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich, making a mockery of his 34 years.
Further title deeds followed in 2000 – Denis calling time on