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Biography

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 his international career to prolong his domestic future. A 500th appearance for the Reds arrived during his 10th year of service in 2001 – fittingly enough on St Patrick’s Day, when he skippered the side to home victory over Leicester City. He was given the armband again for the final home game against Derby County – and hoisted the trophy – his seventh title.

Having extended his one-year deal by another 12 months, he eventually brought the curtain down on a glittering 12 years against Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford in May 2002. He remains United’s second most-decorated player, with 13 winner’s medals.

Read Less About Denis Irwin
  • Position

    Defender

  • Country

    Republic of Ireland

  • Date of birth

  • Joined

  • United debut

    v Liverpool (N) Charity Shield

  • Left United

Latest

Wes Brown and Denis Irwin.

‘I couldn’t get near him!’ video

In association with Casillero del Diablo, Wes Brown and Denis Irwin tell us about their legendary opponents...

Denis Irwin.

Irwin: United are entering the unknown Article

The Reds' legendary full-back says the team's pre-lockdown form may count for nothing when the Premier League restarts.

Denis Irwin.

'Us full-backs never hog the limelight' Article

Denis Irwin is often compared to Tony Dunne and he feels his fellow countryman's record speaks volumes.

Goal of the Day: Irwin v Wimbledon video

I is for Irwin and Denis finished off this wonderful team effort versus Wimbledon in 1994…

Denis Irwin

I is for... Irwin Article

The reliable, long-serving left-back is the latest subject of our daily A-Z goal series.

David Beckham sprays champagne.

Beckham's fantastic finale Article

We recall five legends who played their final United games on 11 May, including two brilliant no.7s.

Irwin: My shirt collection video

Beloved former full-back Denis Irwin talks us through United's whirlwind 1990s, via his collection of iconic shirts...

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Fans and ex-players join unsung Reds debate Article

We've formed a top starting XI from United history, based on the massive number of responses across social media.

Gary Neville and Denis Irwin.

Irwin's top team-mates XI Article

Our former left-back's XI is dominated by those he played alongside during his 12-year spell at Old Trafford.

Denis Irwin

Goal of the Day: Irwin v Oldham video

Denis Irwin's FA Cup semi-final strike against former club Oldham is today's 'Goal of the Day'...

Nani is congratulated by Wes Brown and Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring against Liverpool in 2008

Top 10: Easter goals video

Nani, Beckham, Scholes and Ronaldo all feature in our top 10 United goals scored at Easter...

Denis Irwin.

Why Irwin didn't play school football in Ireland video

Proud Irishman Denis Irwin reflected on growing up in his native Cork, in a recent episode of UTD Podcast...

Legends rave over Reds' display video

United greats Denis Irwin and Lou Macari were both really impressed by our Europa League win in Austria...

Harry Gregg pulls off a stunning save.

"Harry is a very big figure in United's history" Article

Alex Stepney, Denis Irwin and Bryan Robson discuss the legacy left behind by former goalkeeper Harry Gregg.

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