Denis Irwin

Denis Irwin
Irwin in 2017
Personal information
Full name Joseph Denis Irwin
Date of birth (1965-10-31) 31 October 1965 (age 58)
Place of birth Cork, Ireland
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Position(s) Full back
Youth career
0000–1983 Leeds United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1986 Leeds United 72 (1)
1986–1990 Oldham Athletic 167 (4)
1990–2002 Manchester United 368 (22)
2002–2004 Wolverhampton Wanderers 75 (2)
Total 682 (29)
International career
1986–1987 Republic of Ireland U21 3 (0)
1989 Republic of Ireland U23 1 (1)
1990 Republic of Ireland B 1 (0)
1990–1999 Republic of Ireland 56 (4)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Joseph Denis Irwin (born 31 October 1965) is an Irish former professional footballer and sports television presenter.

As a player, he played as a full back from 1983 to 2004. Irwin is best known for his long and successful stint at Manchester United, where he established himself as one of the most important players in the United team that won a host of domestic and European trophies in his time there between 1990 and 2002. He has been regarded by Alex Ferguson as, pound for pound, his greatest ever signing. Earlier in his career he played for Leeds United and then Oldham Athletic, and finished his career with a two-year spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers, the club he supported as a child.

Irwin was capped by the Republic of Ireland national side 56 times, scoring four goals and featuring in the side that reached the second round (last 16) at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Irwin is the joint most successful Irish footballer in history, a record he shares with fellow Manchester United stalwart Roy Keane, having won 19 trophies in his career.

Early life

Irwin was born and raised in Cork, County Cork and was educated at Togher Boys' National School and Coláiste Chríost Rí. As a schoolboy, he excelled at both Gaelic football and hurling, and played at Croke Park more than once, on one occasion marking future teammate, Niall Quinn.

Club career

Early career

Irwin began his career with Leeds United in 1983, making 72 appearances in the Second Division, before moving on to Oldham Athletic on a free transfer in 1986. He helped Oldham reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the final of the League Cup in 1990 before he was transferred to Manchester United for a fee of £650,000.

Manchester United

Irwin outside The Cliff in 1992

In 12 years at Old Trafford, he made 296 Premier League appearances and won seven Premier League title medals, as well as two FA Cup winner's medals (1994 and 1996), a League Cup winner's medal, and UEFA Champions League and European Cup Winners' Cup honours. He was comfortable in either of the full back positions and an expert at free kicks and penalties, and even in his mid thirties he was still United's first-choice left back in preference to the younger Phil Neville.[citation needed]

He scored a total of 22 league goals for Manchester United, including several penalties. The first of these came on 7 September 1991 in a 3–0 home win over Norwich City in the First Division.

Notable goals came on 26 December 1991, when he scored twice in a 6–3 away league win over his old club Oldham Athletic, and his late winner against Southampton in May 1995 which kept the league title race open until the final match.

Irwin was awarded a testimonial match for Manchester United – played on 16 August 2000 against Manchester City at Old Trafford. Despite testimonials being friendly matches, due to the match being between local rivals it was a physical affair. Irwin went off injured in the 37th minute after a bad challenge by City striker George Weah.

Irwin made his last appearance for Manchester United at Old Trafford against Charlton Athletic on the final day of the 2001–02 Premier League season (12 May 2002), which ended in a 0–0 draw. For his final appearance as a Manchester United player, Alex Ferguson awarded him the captain's armband.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Irwin joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on a free transfer after the 2001–02 season, coincidentally joining the Black Country club at the same time as his former Manchester United teammate Paul Ince made the move to the West Midlands club, having previously been at Middlesbrough. Irwin scored twice in his first season at Wolves, against Burnley and Grimsby.

After Wolves won promotion to the Premier League in 2003, Irwin was applauded by the Manchester United supporters when he walked onto the pitch at Old Trafford for an early season league match which United won 1–0.[citation needed]

Wolves were relegated at the end of the 2003–04 season, and the 38-year-old Irwin then announced his retirement.

International career

Irwin played for the Republic of Ireland national under-19 team that qualified for the 1983 UEFA European Under-18 Championship and the 1984 UEFA European Under-18 Championship. He was capped 56 times for the Republic of Ireland between 1990 and 1999, and scored four goals. His first appearance came on 12 September 1990 (just after his move to Manchester United), when he helped them beat Morocco 1–0 in a friendly at Dalymount Park. He made his competitive international debut on 17 October 1990, when the national side began their UEFA Euro 1992 qualifying campaign with a 5–0 win over Turkey at Lansdowne Road. He scored his first international goal on 29 April 1992 in a friendly against the United States at Lansdowne Road. His final international appearance came on 17 November 1999, at the age of 34, when Ireland lost to Turkey in the UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying play-off second leg in Bursa.

Irwin made his only international tournament appearance for Ireland at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. He started at right back in the team's first two group matches; a 1–0 defeat of Italy and a 2–1 loss to Mexico. He was then suspended for Ireland's final group game (0–0 draw vs. Norway) and was an unused substitute in the 2–0 loss to the Netherlands in the Round of 16.

Media career

Since 2004, Irwin has worked as a presenter on MUTV. Irwin has been involved in coverage of several football tournaments on RTÉ. He is also a columnist with Ireland's Sunday World newspaper. He contributed to RTÉ Sport's coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Career statistics

Club

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Leeds United 1983–84 Second Division 12 0 1 0 0 0 13 0
1984–85 Second Division 41 1 1 0 3 0 45 1
1985–86 Second Division 19 0 1 0 2 0 2 0 24 0
Total 72 1 3 0 5 0 2 0 82 1
Oldham Athletic 1986–87 Second Division 41 1 2 0 3 0 3 0 49 1
1987–88 Second Division 43 0 1 0 5 3 0 0 49 3
1988–89 Second Division 41 2 1 0 3 0 1 0 46 2
1989–90 Second Division 42 1 9 0 8 0 1 0 60 1
Total 167 4 13 0 19 3 0 0 5 0 204 7
Manchester United 1990–91 First Division 34 0 3 0 8 0 6 0 1 0 52 0
1991–92 First Division 38 4 3 0 7 0 2 0 1 0 51 4
1992–93 Premier League 40 5 3 0 3 0 2 0 48 5
1993–94 Premier League 42 2 7 2 9 0 3 0 1 0 62 4
1994–95 Premier League 40 2 7 4 2 0 5 0 0 0 54 6
1995–96 Premier League 31 1 6 0 1 0 1 0 39 1
1996–97 Premier League 31 1 3 0 0 0 8 0 1 0 43 1
1997–98 Premier League 25 2 4 0 1 0 6 2 1 0 37 4
1998–99 Premier League 29 2 6 1 0 0 12 0 1 0 48 3
1999–2000 Premier League 25 3 0 0 13 0 4 0 42 3
2000–01 Premier League 21 0 1 0 0 0 7 2 1 0 30 2
2001–02 Premier League 12 0 0 0 0 0 10 0 1 0 23 0
Total 368 22 43 7 31 0 75 4 12 0 529 33
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2002–03 First Division 43 2 4 0 2 0 3 0 52 2
2003–04 Premier League 32 0 1 0 0 0 33 0
Total 75 2 5 0 2 0 3 0 85 2
Career total 682 29 64 7 57 3 75 4 22 0 900 43
  1. ^ a b c Appearance(s) in Full Members' Cup
  2. ^ One appearance in Full Members' Cup, two in Second Division play-offs
  3. ^ a b Appearances in European Cup Winners' Cup
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Appearance in FA Charity Shield
  5. ^ Appearance in European Super Cup
  6. ^ a b Appearance(s) in UEFA Cup
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  8. ^ One appearance in FA Charity Shield, one in Intercontinental Cup, two in FIFA Club World Championship
  9. ^ Appearances in First Division play-offs

International

Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Republic of Ireland 1990 2 0
1991 6 0
1992 8 1
1993 8 0
1994 7 0
1995 8 0
1996 4 0
1997 4 1
1998 3 1
1999 6 1
Total 56 4
Republic of Ireland score listed first, score column indicates score after each Irwin goal
List of international goals scored by Denis Irwin
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 29 April 1992 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland 10  United States 2–0 4–1 Friendly
2 29 October 1997 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland 47  Belgium 1–0 1–1 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
3 5 September 1998 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland 49  Croatia 1–0 2–0 UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying
4 10 February 1999 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland 51  Paraguay 1–0 2–0 Friendly

Honours

Oldham Athletic

Manchester United

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Individual


This page was last updated at 2023-11-24 02:00 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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