Picking the three best Irish players in the Premier League era

Picking the three best Irish players in the Premier League era
Roy Keane and Denis Irwin, former Manchester United stars, are included in our selection of the three best Premier League players from Ireland. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

THE Premier League is home to some of the best players in the world, consisting of various nationalities including the Republic of Ireland.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of finances in our domestic league, our country’s best players end up leaving Ireland and playing in England.

Ireland have had greats like Shay Given, Paul McGrath, who played a lot of his best stuff in the old top-flight, and Richard Dunne represent the country in the Premier League but the three best Irish players to play in England’s top flight are...

Roy Keane of Ireland tackles Marc Overmars of Holland. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Roy Keane of Ireland tackles Marc Overmars of Holland. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Roy Keane is perhaps the greatest ever Irish player to leave our shores.

The former Manchester United captain won everything in the game as well as collecting the PFA Player of the Year award in 2000.

Keane wasn’t a flamboyant player but what he was notorious for was making the right decision when on the ball.

Roy Keane is congratulated by David Beckham and Denis Irwin after scoring. Picture: AP Photo/Louisa Buller
Roy Keane is congratulated by David Beckham and Denis Irwin after scoring. Picture: AP Photo/Louisa Buller

He made the game look easy and expertly executed the basics of what is needed to be a football – pass and control a ball and run around.

Captaining one of the biggest clubs in the world is no easy task but the success United enjoyed during Keane’s time as captain, does prove that he is the greatest captain there has been in the Premier League.

Demanding...

Keane was criticised for being too demanding of his teammates but when they needed him most, the Corkman was always there to stick up for them. Just look at the famous tunnel incident between Keane and Patrick Vieira, when the former Sunderland manager was defending Gary Neville.

Keane's stubbornness was perhaps one of the main reasons he left United in 2005 but he will always be considered one of the greats to have played for one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Keane’s fellow teammate at United Denis Irwin, was signed by the Red Devils in 1990 and went onto make 529 appearances for the club.

Irwin was a player Alex Ferguson held in the highest bracket and stated the full-back would get into his greatest all-time United team.

Irwin was a player Ferguson trusted most and he never let the Scot down.

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Like Keane and Irwin, Damien Duff was another Irish player to win the Premier League. The former Chelsea winger, was a player that would excite fans every time he got the ball.

Duff’s career was hampered by injuries but that didn’t stop him from playing a big part in winning the Premier League in two successive years with Chelsea. 

Although he enjoyed collective success at Chelsea, his best individual performances came in a Blackburn Rovers shirt.

Celtic's Didier Agathe tackles Blackburn's Damien Duff. Picture: Ben Curtis.
Celtic's Didier Agathe tackles Blackburn's Damien Duff. Picture: Ben Curtis.

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