The Best Irish Players in Premier League History

Roy Keane

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The English Premier League has a deep-rooted history of Irish talent that has graced the pitch. Between the beloved fan-favourites to living legends, we can safely say the historic moments captured in English football would not be the same without some Irish presence. With that said, let us preview some of Ireland’s greatest EPL icons. 

Roy Keane – Manchester United

EPL Appearances: 366

Career Highlights: Seven Premier League titles. 

No surprise here. 

Roy Keane is the most iconic Irish-born player to ever play football, let alone inside the EPL. Keane played a massive role in one of Alex Ferguson’s most successful Manchester United squads. Besides being one of the most accomplished midfielders of his era, Keane had no qualms in kicking the opposition just as hard as the ball if it meant gaining possession for his squad. 

Keane led the Red Devils to their historic treble in 1998/99, but this treble was just three of the 17 trophies he achieved at the club and will remain one of the greatest ever to step foot inside Old Trafford. 

Robbie Keane – Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa

EPL Appearances: 349

Career Highlights: Highest-scoring Irishman of all time in the Premier League.  

Despite the circulating myth, Robbie and Roy Keane are no relation even though they share a surname, place of birth and historic football career. 

Robbie Keane enjoyed 126 goals whilst competing at the highest level of English football; this puts him at the top of the Irish scoring goal charts in the EPL. The star striker was first spotted at Coventry City, as his talents led him to bigger and better clubs, including Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa. 

During his professional career, the lack of trophies is almost unbelievable – winning just one League Cup during his time spent in England. 

Denis Irwin – Manchester United 

EPL Appearances: 328

Career Highlights: 7 English Premier League titles. 

Leeds United must regret selling a young Denis Irwin because their overlooked talent became one of Alex Ferguson’s most significant signings. The left-back joined the Manchester United squad in 1990 and, to this day, remains as one of the greatest defenders the division has ever had the pleasure of watching. 

Alongside Roy Keane, Irwin raised seven Premier League titles, countless trophies and proved himself as one of the best young signings in the Red Devils history. 

Damien Duff – Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea & Newcastle

EPL Appearances: 392

Career Highlights: Seven Premier League titles. 

Mr Duff’s legendary career was a fast-rising one, and he became a hot prospect after spending his first two years at Blackburn Rovers. It did not take long before huge offers for his services were incoming, and a move to Chelsea saw the winger claim two EPL titles.

Once the glory days at Chelsea were finished, he went on as a valuable player for Newcastle United and Fulham, eventually ending his career in the sunshine with a move to Australia in 2014.  

 

John O’Shea – Manchester United

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EPL Appearances: 445

Career Highlights: Five Premier League titles. 

We simply cannot ignore the accomplishments of John O’Shea, and again, yet another Irish marksman who flourished at Manchester United. When making the best footballing free sports picks for Irish soccer, O’Shea probably does not come to mind for most fans, but his career should not be undervalued. 

Making 445 appearances in the Premier League is an accomplishment itself (more than any outfield player in Ireland’s history), whilst capturing five Premier League titles at Manchester United.

Shay Given – Newcastle United, Manchester City & Aston Villa

EPL Appearances: 451

Career Highlights: Seven Premier League titles. 

Holding six more appearances than our previous outstanding Irish player, Shay Given managed to crush attackers dreams with his long stature and goal stopping ability whilst topping the appearance record with 451 games played in the English Premier League. 

The former goalkeeper was one of the league’s most impressive performers during his stay at Newcastle United, regularly featuring in the Team of the Year, before eventually joining the likes of Manchester City, where he continued to deliver the goods. During the end of his career, Shay Given played for Aston Villa until his eventual retirement. 

 

 

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