Sir Alex Ferguson’s unexpected first name in Manchester United’s dream XI

Sir Alex Ferguson managed an almost endless list of notable players in his 27 years as Manchester United manager, but of them all, Denis Irwin is the first name in his dream XI.

Squeezing all the brilliant players he helped build and earn a lot of silverware with into one team is a difficult task and one that Ferguson has always struggled with. However, there was no hesitation in putting United great Irwin straight into the side.

The left-back arrived at Old Trafford from neighbors Oldham Athletic for £625,000 in 1990 and it turned out to be a bargain. Irwin then served the club for 12 years and made 468 appearances, becoming a fan hero and one of Ferguson’s favorite players.

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“Honestly, I would say Denis Irwin would be the only certainty to get in the team. I rated him eight out of ten,” he told The Sunday World in 2013.

“At Highbury in a game he had a bad pass at the last minute and [Dennis] Bergkamp came in and scored. After the game, the press said, “You must be disappointed with that back pass.” I said, “Well, one mistake in 10 years isn’t bad.” He was an incredible player.”

Trying to select a dream XI from all the players he has managed at United, Ferguson added: “People ask you, ‘Who is your best Man United team?’ and it is absolutely impossible.

“It’s absolutely impossible. You look at the strikers I had, going back to [Brian] McClaire, [Mark] Hughes, [Andy] Cole, Cantona, [Ruud] van Nistelroy, [Louis] Saha, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, [Dwight] Yorke, Teddy Sheringham.

“Then to the current players – Wayne Rooney, [Robin] van Persie, Chicharito [Javier Hernandez]. How do you choose from that? Cantona and someone else maybe?

“The midfield was probably a bit easier because you have [Roy] Kean, [Bryan] Robson and Scholes – they were fantastic players – and [David] Beckham, Ronaldo and Giggs.”

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