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The Premier League is home to some of the best players to have ever played the game, and the Republic of Ireland has certainly contributed to that success.
Down the years some of the best players in the division have been in the winning sides come the end of the season. There are also players from Ireland that have created some of the most iconic moments that the division has seen.
Unfortunately due to the money that the Premier League can offer, the best players in Ireland usually have to move across to England to play their football, but when they move back some of them do it with a host of winners’ medals to remember their time fondly. However, as you will discover from this list, not all of them left England as winners, but they did leave with the hearts of the fans. If you’re looking to be a winner, you can play some of the most exciting games at MobileBet.
However, who makes it into our top three Premier League players to have come from Ireland?
Roy Keane was undoubtedly one of the finest Irish players to have played in the top-flight in England. Keano won everything that there was to win during his time with Manchester United. During his career, he won seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League in 1999. His finest moment for the Red Devils came during that run to the Champions League final, as he scored twice in Turin against Juventus to put on the greatest captains display ever seen on the continent.
Down the years, he has had massive falling outs with Sir Alex Ferguson and numerous other coaches, but it has never threatened to undermine what he did on the pitch for his team. One of the other iconic Premier League moments came when he clashed with Patrick Viera prior to a fixture between United and Arsenal at Highbury. The match itself saw a Keane-inspired United rally back from a goal down to win 4-2. That match epitomised what Keane and that United side under him were like. The never say die attitude, and the willingness to die for the team is something that no other side in the Premier League era could match.
Keane went on to enjoy a spell at Celtic following his controversial exit from Old Trafford where he won the SPL title, but it was his United days that ensures that he was the best Irishman to play in the top flight in England.
Robbie Keane in the Premier League was a sight that even opposing fans could enjoy. He was naturally gifted on the ball, and his eye for the back of the net ensures that he is the highest-scoring Irishman in Premier League history. He enjoyed success wherever he went. He started his career with Wolverhampton Wanderers before he was snapped up by Coventry City. An excellent spell with City saw a shock move to Serie A with Inter Milan.
However, after one season and limited opportunities, he moved back to England and signed on a permanent deal with Leeds United in 2001. After a full season with the club, he was signed by Tottenham Hotspur, where he would enjoy the best days of his career. He made 201 appearances for Spurs during six years with the club, and he scored 80 goals. The most notable of which was a frankly ridiculous piece of skill that saw him flick the ball over a defenders head before dribbling around Brad Friedel to score against Blackburn Rovers.
It was during this spell that he would win his biggest honour in English football. The 2008 League Cup remains the last piece of silverware that Spurs have won, and Keane was instrumental in the success. He left Spurs for Liverpool in 2008, before returning to Spurs once again the following season. After two loan spells, he decided to swap England for the USA, and he went onto win three MLS Cups with the LA Galaxy. He had a short spell back in the Premier League with Aston Villa in 2012, where he scored three goals in six fixtures. He will go down as one of the very best, at least in the eyes of the teams he played for.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the best defender that Ireland has ever seen. McGrath enjoyed a stellar career, which also included the first five years of the Premier League. He remains one of only five defenders to have won the top prize of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and was an integral member of every team that he represented. He is still hailed as a god at Aston Villa, and they sing about him every week. His relationship with the fans of the clubs that he played for is just a sign of how highly he was regarded.
He is one of the defenders that should he have been playing in this modern era; he would have been worth triple digits. The current style of the Premier League would suit his game to a tee. He excelled at bringing the ball out from the defence and could run past players as quickly as they hoped to get past him.
His career could have been so different if it wasn’t for problems during his time at Old Trafford. The club accepted a fee of around £400,000 for him in 1989, and he went to Aston Villa. Despite being written off by Ferguson at United, he went on to play some of the best football of his career at Villa Park. He was an integral member of the squad that helped them escape relegation, before becoming an important part of one of the best team’s the league has ever seen during the 1992-93 season. He wasn’t to end his career at Villa Park without a piece of silverware, however, as he went on to win the League Cup in 1994 and 1996. He was truly a legend of the Premier League.