Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Denis Irwin would be the only player who would unquestionably make his Manchester United all-time XI.
The legendary Scotsman’s prolific 26-year spell at Old Trafford came with an incredible 38-trophy haul, including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues.
Ferguson’s iconic career at United saw him manage a plethora of world-class talent, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and Eric Cantona.
The 80-year-old announced his retirement from football in 2013 after leading United to the Premier League title.
Ferguson admitted at the time it was an “impossible” task to name his best United team by pointing out the talent pool in both the attack and midfield.
“People ask you: ‘Who is your best Man United team?’ and it’s absolutely impossible,” he told the Sunday World.
“It is absolutely impossible. You look at the strikers I had, going back to [Brian] McClair, [Mark] Hughes, [Andy] Cole, Cantona, [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, [Louis] Saha, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, [Dwight] Yorke, Teddy Sheringham.
“Then to the present players — Wayne Rooney, [Robin] van Persie, Chicharito [Javier Hernandez]. How do you pick out of that? Cantona and somebody else maybe?
Former Manchester United star Denis Irwin. Credit: PA”The midfield was probably a bit easier because you have [Roy] Keane, [Bryan] Robson and Scholes — they were fantastic players — and [David] Beckham, Ronaldo and [Ryan] Giggs.”
Ferguson didn’t touch on the defence for his team, but the legendary former United manager has been an admirer of Irwin.
He previously wrote in his autobiography that the former United left-back would be the player most likely to secure a place in his team.
“Honestly, I would say Denis Irwin would be the one certainty to get in the team. I called him an eight out of 10,” Ferguson wrote.
Sir Alex Ferguson in charge of Manchester United. Credit: PA”At Highbury in one game, he had a bad pass back in the last minute and [Dennis] Bergkamp came in and scored.
“After the game, the press said: ‘You must be disappointed in that pass back.’ I said: ‘Well, one mistake in 10 years isn’t bad.’ He was an unbelievable player.”
Irwin made 468 appearances for United and lifted seven Premier League titles, a Champions League, two FA Cups and a League Cup during his 12 years at the club.