THE great Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson once called Denis Irwin ‘pound-for-pound’ his greatest ever signing.
The modest Irishman might not have star power in the vein of former teammates Eric Cantona, Roy Keane or David Beckham, but his value to the club across 12 years can be measured in the 19 trophies won and the fact only eight men have played more times in the famous red shirt than Irwin’s 529 appearances.
Excelling at either right or left back, Irwin came to be United’s ‘Mr Dependable’ and was the one constant throughout the club’s decade of dominance from 1990-2000.
Irwin will line up alongside a host of other Manchester United Legends when they take on a Professional Footballers Australia Aussie Legends side at Perth Oval to raise money for the Perth-based DT38 Foundation, in memory of Dylan Tombides, and Manchester United Foundation on Saturday.
Irwin retired in 2004 after two seasons at his boyhood club Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Despite the players being out of professional football for varying periods, Irwin said everyone was still as good and competitive as ever.
“Scholesy (Paul Scholes) is great; he remains a fantastic player and he still pulls the strings for us in these legends games,” he said.
At one time or another, Irwin was a teammate to every player in the Manchester United Legends squad, at Manchester United, Leeds or Oldham.