Denis Irwin is often lauded by Roy Keane whenever the former Manchester United midfielder is asked to name the best XI he’s ever played with.
And now Denis Irwin has returned the compliment.
Unsurprisingly, Irwin named Keane as one of his two favourite teammates from his time with Man United.
Irwin, who won seven Premier League titles playing under Sir Alex Ferguson, revealed that Keane and Bryan Robson were his favourites to play with at Old Trafford.
“Roy Keane is the best player that I’ve ever played with,” Irwin told Four Four Two.
“My two favourite players who I played with were Robbo and Roy. They were really similar, but I had a lot of time with Roy for United and Ireland. I saw him develop from being a box-to-box player to a holding midfielder.
“Our midfield in 1999 complemented each other. Scholesy was a magnificent footballer, partly because whenever he played alongside Roy it was the perfect partnership. Wide of them were Giggsy and Becks, but the driving force was always Roy.”
Irwin, hailed by Ferguson as the only player guaranteed a place in his best-ever selection of players, was one of Keane’s closest friends during the pair’s time with the Red Devils.
As two Corkmen who were stalwarts for both United and the Republic of Ireland, Keane and Irwin had a fantastic relationship and the latter has no problem being honest about Keane’s technical abilities.
“Roy will contest this, but he wasn’t the best footballer in the world – he left that to Scholesy,” Irwin explained.
“He was a combative player who could smell danger, read situations and tell where the ball was dropping. He was defensive-minded but could also break forward. He was a huge driving force in training and in being Manchester United.”
While they were close buddies off the pitch, Irwin did not escape Keane’s infamous wrath in training…