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Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK
Carry on Irwin
Denis Irwin
Irwin is being honoured for his service to United
Manchester United's veteran defender Denis Irwin celebrates ten years at Old Trafford with a testimonial game against Manchester City on Wednesday.

The Irishman has been Mr Dependable for United over a decade which has seen him collect a haul of 26 medals.

While Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel often stole the limelight, Irwin was the ever-present cornerstone of the Reds' remarkable achievements.

The 34-year-old has been a permanent fixture as United manager Alex Ferguson built a double-winning team and dismantled it to mould a side of talented youngsters into treble winners.

  Irwin factfile
Born: Cork, Ireland, October 1965
Previous clubs: Leeds and Oldham
Joined United in 1990
United apps: 476 (12 as sub)
Goals: 30

He moved to Old Trafford for 625,000 in 1990 after giving up a career in hurling to play for Leeds United and then Oldham.

"When I heard United were interested in me I didn't even want to talk to anyone else," said Irwin.

He won the first of his medals for United on his debut in the Charity Shield and ended the season lifting the European Cup Winners' Cup.

International

His move coincided with his elevation to the Republic of Ireland team, for whom he played in the 1994 World Cup.

He retired from international soccer last year after winning 56 caps.

Irwin played 40 times as United won their first title for 26 years in 1993 and has since moved to seventh in the Reds all-time appearance list with 476.

For many seasons United's penalty taker, Irwin has scored 30 goals for the club and, along with Ryan Giggs, has more championship medals to his credit than any other player in United's history.

Irwin has continued to sign one-year contracts with United and unusually negotiated the deals himself rather than using an agent.

The league/FA Cup/European Cup treble in 1999 ranks among United's greatest achievements but Irwin does not list it as the high point in his career.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson has stayed loyal to Irwin

"Winning the European Cup was great but my favourite memory is that first league title win," he said.

The testimonial has been given added spice after Joe Royle, his manager at Oldham and now in charge at Manchester City, agreed to bring his newly-promoted side to Old Trafford.

It is the first time since 1996 the teams have met and the derby game serves as a prelude to the first Premiership encounter in November.

Irwin intends to enjoy these games and many more as he approaches his 35th birthday.

"Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister told me they probably left the club too early and I don't want to turn around and feel that way," he said.

Listen to the Denis Irwin testimonial game against Manchester City at Old Trafford live on BBC Sport Online.

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Irwin Testimonial
Man Utd v Man City. Live commentary from BBC GMR
Weds 1845GMT/1945BST
See also:

06 Jul 00 |  Man Utd
Irwin's bumper pay day
14 Jul 00 |  Man Utd
Irwin ready for fight
16 Jul 00 |  Derby County
Irwin backs Higginbotham
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