Top 10 appearances: United’s Hall of Fame
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea is now outright 10th on our all-time appearances list, after moving ahead of Joe Spence on 511 matches with his start in the Emirates FA Cup third round.
The Spaniard joins an illustrious group of Reds legends, including fellow goalkeeper Alex Stepney and World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton.
Following De Gea’s achievement, here are the top 10 Reds who have played the most matches for the club…
10 – DAVID DE GEA (2011-present)
De Gea joined in 2011 under Sir Alex Ferguson as the long-term successor to Edwin van der Sar. In more than a decade at Old Trafford, David has shown himself worthy of such expectations, and cemented himself as a United great. The Spaniard has so far won the Premier League in 2013, FA Cup in 2016 and the Europa League in 2017, plus four Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards.
9 – DENIS IRWIN (1990-2002)
The seven-time Premier League winner was part of the United side which dominated the 1990s and won the Treble in '99. The Irish full-back could play on either wing and was a mainstay in Sir Alex’s side for more than a decade.
8 – TONY DUNNE (1960-1973)
Another Irish full-back, Dunne played for United for 13 years, and was part of the side that defeated Benfica to win the European Cup in 1968. Tony was pivotal throughout the '60s and early '70s, and won two First Division titles along the way.
7 – ALEX STEPNEY (1966-1978)
Clean sheets: 175
The most-capped goalkeeper in United history, Stepney was also part of the side which became the first English team to lift the European Cup. The Reds defeated Benfica 4-1 in that final, and Stepney’s outstanding close-range save against superstar striker Eusebio is still talked about today.
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6 – WAYNE ROONEY (2004-2017)
Our all-time leading goalscorer, need we say more? Rooney joined in 2004 after his breakthrough season at Everton and lit up Old Trafford for more than a decade. With his raw power, underrated speed, devastating finishing and win-at-all-costs attitude, not to mention an unselfish team-first attitude, he was a nightmare for every opponent on the planet.
5 – GARY NEVILLE (1992-2011)
A member of the Class of ’92, G Nev achieved so much during 19 years in the seniors. One of only five Reds to have surpassed 600 appearances, and a former club captain, Gary won eight Premier Leagues, two Champions Leagues and three FA Cups.
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4 – BILL FOULKES (1952-1970)
Foulkes is the highest ranked defender on our list and, like the rest of the top five, he spent his entire career at United. A survivor of the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, Bill helped the Reds to achieve European glory 10 years later: he famously sent us through to Wembley with a late semi-final goal against Real Madrid.
3 – PAUL SCHOLES (1994-2011, 2012-2013)
Scholes evolved from being a goal-scoring no.10 to a deep-lying playmaker throughout his career. He famously came out of retirement in 2012 to accrue more appearances, and countless legends of the game cite the Salford-born midfielder as the best they ever played with.
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2 – SIR BOBBY CHARLTON (1956-1973)
A true gentlemen and survivor of the Munich Air Disaster, our 1966 Ballon d’Or winner achieved so much during his iconic playing career, both on and off the pitch. He lifted three First Division titles, one FA Cup and the European Cup. He also held the all-time appearances and goals records for several decades, before Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney eventually surpassed him. Nobody embodies the values of Manchester United better than Sir Bobby.
1 – RYAN GIGGS (1991-2014)
With unmatched longevity, Giggs played for United’s senior team for an incredible 23 years and racked up close to 1,000 Reds appearances. He was part of all 13 Premier League title-winning sides and also lifted the Champions League twice too, among many other honours. It would take something seriously special – and some incredibly dedication - to displace the Welshman at the top of our list.
*As of 7 January 2023, after the Everton FA Cup game.