World Football

Denis Irwin on FA Cup final, Manchester United’s season, Erik ten Hag, Kane or Osimhen and more

Rajarshi Shukla

May 17 2023
Denis Irwin Manchester United

The legend gave his opinions on the upcoming FA Cup final and Manchester United’s ongoing season in a candid conversation

Denis Irwin is most remembered for his lengthy and productive tenure with Manchester United, where he made a name for himself as one of the team’s most crucial players and helped it win several domestic and European titles from 1990 to 2002. He is considered by Alex Ferguson to be his best signing ever, dollar for dollar.

He began his career playing for Leeds United, moved on to Oldham Athletic, and ended it with a two-year stint with Wolverhampton Wanderers, the team he grew up supporting.

Irwin played 56 times for the Republic of Ireland national team, earning four goals, and was a member of the group that advanced to the second round (last 16) of the FIFA World Cup in 1994. With 19 titles in the span of their careers, Irwin and Manchester United mainstay Roy Keane hold the distinction of being the most accomplished Irish footballers in history.

While in Mumbai for an event, he gave an exclusive interview to our journalist about Manchester United’s current campaign. See what he had to say about the campaign below.

Manchester United improved under Erik ten Hag, but there are areas they need to improve.

“I think we have done great this year; we have played a lot of matches and we are kind of running out of steam, and this season we have missed goalscorers. There are areas where we have to improve to compete for the title next season, and you can ask any fan: a centre forward is the most important thing we need.”

Liverpool are closing in on United for the top four. Do you think United can crumble under pressure?

“We have been fantastic this season and have left three home games to play. On Saturday, we go to Chelsea, and if we win those three, we hope to finish off the line. We got the Carabao Cup and now the FA Cup final against Manchester City.”

Do you think Manchester City will win the treble this season?

“It’s hard to talk about it, and we already won a triple in the 1999-2000 season. We had great team managers and players; they were also the same kind of team. But we also have the opportunity to stop them from winning the FA Cup final, then they will face Real Madrid and later other Premier League games.”

Do you think United will be able to compete next season if they improve certain areas?

“We made a big stride this year. We were looking to finish last year. This year, a new manager came in and five players were signed: Casemiro, Malacia Martinez, and Erikson. But we still need some players; if you look at Arsenal, they played this season, so yeah, improvement is a must in certain areas next season.”

According to you, which striker should they sign?

“It’s not according to me; it’s according to everybody, and I don’t know who in the media is linking us to Osimhen, Kane, and Kolo Muani. You know, centre-forward is one of the hardest things to sign, so yeah, we will need a quality striker next season.”

If it were up to you, would you have gone for Kane or Osimhen?

“Harry Kane knows the Premier League inside out, but Spurs don’t want to lose him, and Napoli just won Serie A in 1990, so they don’t want to lose him either, so it will not be easy to sign a top striker.”

Given Indian football growth, do you see future Indian players playing for European clubs?

“I hope so. I came across the Premier League and saw it in Goa at the youth festival, and I was taken aback by the number of young girls and men. What Apollo Tyres is doing here is being linked with Manchester United, which I really hope they do in the future. And that’s where it needs to be embedded in culture, so we see more young boys and girls in this sport.”

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