Shock Man Utd legend is first name in Sir Alex Ferguson’s dream XI as iconic boss snubs Scholes, Cantona and Ronaldo

HAVING managed Manchester United for 27 glittering years, picking an all-time XI from his reign is nigh-on impossible for Sir Alex Ferguson.

From Cristiano Ronaldo to Paul Scholes, via Ryan Giggs and Eric Cantona – the Scot nurtured some of the game's great talents.


While narrowing down an XI has proven impossible for Sir Alex down the years – he has previously admitted who the first name on his team-sheet would be… and it's none of the above.

Fergie's favourite, it turns out, was Mr Reliable at left-back.

He said: "Honestly, I would say Denis Irwin would be the one certainty to get in the team. I called him an eight out of ten.

"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, now 56, joined United from Oldham for just £625,000 in 1990.

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He would go on to make 468 appearances for the club over the next 12 years – playing his part in seven Premier League title wins, two FA Cups, a League Cup and a Cup Winners' Cup.

Irwin also played the full 90 minutes in the 1999 Champions League final, as Ferguson's men completed a famous treble in Barcelona.

On picking a dream XI, Fergie told the Sunday World back in 2013: "People ask you: 'Who is your best Man United team?' and it's absolutely impossible.

"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?

"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 Giggs."

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