Irwin vs Evra

Who was our best left back in the Premier League era?


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devilish

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I think that Irwin was the more complete player for us but I thought Evra was brilliant for us as well.
I just do not see the point in comparing because one then has to be labelled the second best and I don't think that is fair on that player.
Evra was the best fb we had after Irwin.
 

devilish

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Even if the latter statement is true (which is debatable, although I can see why people would say so), it's clearly nowhere close to the pairs that you've mentioned. Both were world-class fullbacks at their peak, Evra was even the best in the world for a couple of seasons between Cole and Marcelo, I guess, (not sure about Irwin, but he had a tougher competition) but neither were quite at the all-time level of the likes of Maldini, Facchetti or Roberto Carlos.
Facchetti was prior my time so I can't really say. Maldini was superior to Denis. However Denis was superior to both Evra and Carlos

Denis had it all. He was versatile, he was rock solid, he had great positioning and he was superb when going forward. He could have easily transitioned as a winger if he wanted to

Evra had better technique and pace but defensive wise he was meah. Thank god we had vidic and Rio back then. Carlos was even better to evra attacking wise but he was a liability in defence. Maldini on the other hand was a beast. He was better physically, defensively and position wise to all of them. What he lacked was Irwin's crossing/freekicks
 

sullydnl

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Irwin.

Though if I was picking a United XI from my lifetime I'd just put Denis at RB and Evra at LB.
 

ghagua

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Denis Irwin. Evra was top class, but Irwin was Mr. dependable for such a long time.
 

MadDogg

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Irwin by a considerable distance. Irwin was better offensively and defensively in virtually every aspect.
I would say that Evra was better at getting forward and dominating his entire flank, but Irwin's final ball was obviously far better. Evra's relatively poor final ball is what stopped him reaching a similar level as Marcelo and Dani Alves.
 

elmo

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Irwin's so good that we can play him at either fullback spot and he'll still be our best fullback.
 

POF

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I love Evra but it's Denis for sure. What an incredible player he was. He was better defensively than Evra but his real strength was his quality on the ball. His delivery was fantastic from open play and set pieces, he had great technique and was very composed in everything he did.

Top quality from set pieces, clinical from the penalty spot and a fantastic character in the squad. He'd have been even better if he played in his best position!

Evra had more energy, was a more dynamic dribbler and had more charisma and leadership qualities.

Both were excellent players for United. The only mystery is how anyone could name Gary Neville in their best United XI ahead of either of these 2.
 

harms

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Facchetti was prior my time so I can't really say. Maldini was superior to Denis. However Denis was superior to both Evra and Carlos

Denis had it all. He was versatile, he was rock solid, he had great positioning and he was superb when going forward. He could have easily transitioned as a winger if he wanted to

Evra had better technique and pace but defensive wise he was meah. Thank god we had vidic and Rio back then. Carlos was even better to evra attacking wise but he was a liability in defence. Maldini on the other hand was a beast. He was better physically, defensively and position wise to all of them. What he lacked was Irwin's crossing/freekicks
I know that I'm going to be massacred for this, but he is getting a bit overrated here. You don't often see players who can impose themselves on the game and be a consistent match-winners from fullback positions — like Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Lahm or Dani Alves did at their best. Irwin was ridiculously complete — two-footed, can play on either side, very balanced in terms of his defensive and offensive contribution, but he had rarely won games on his own. Roberto Carlos was worse defensively that Irwin, but overall he was a more influential player — which is why he had almost won 2002 Ballon d'Or (finishing as a runner-up to Ronaldo in a very close race), got 2nd in FIFA World Player of the Year vote in 1997 and thrice became the best player in Brazilian league. Generally he was considered as one of the best players in the world at his peak. Denis Irwin was considered as one of the best fullbacks in the world in pretty much the same timespan, and there's a difference. You shouldn't trust those awards blindly, of course, and Carlos' marketable personality played a role in that, but it's hard to find objective arguments in those subjective comparisons.

Denis Irwin was fantastic — probably our best fullback ever (only Evra can compete with him, but I see why you'd choose Irwin over him) & generally a stupendously consistent player who won't look out of place in any team. But when you compare him to the very best, it's a bit like comparing Rooney to Messi (taking a play straight from your book), obviously taking different requirements for forwards/fullbacks in consideration — comparing a genuinely world-class generational great to one of the all-time greats.

Andreas Brehme is probably a better comparison to him, as he's much more similar to Irwin — both were two-footed, could play on either wing as either a full- or a wing-back, were taking penalties and free-kicks and also had an outstanding defensive presence, but, again, Brehme had scored a winner in the World Cup final and won Serie A Player of the Year in Inter Milan's title-winning season (competing against the likes of Maradona, van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard, Matthäus, Baggio etc.).
 

RedRonaldo

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Definitely not 'much better', I don't remember Evra scoring many goals compared to Irwin and not just set pieces either - would like to check the assist/goal stats for each
Irwin has good cross and good freekick, but he never really impress me much with his attacking/overlapping run, Evra at times looks like a top class winger. Defensively I'll definitely choose Irwin though. But in modern game, I prefer Evra.
 

Irwin99

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With his first touch, crossing and general play Irwin could easily be a modern attacking fullback. I think people remember the defensive side of his game (which was fantastic) but I think that was dictated more by the times than the player himself. I think he'd be pretty much the complete fullback these days. Not replacing him after 99 was a mistake (when he was 33/34 and coming off a great individual season)

I'd pick Irwin at right back and Evra at left in my all time United 11 (sorry Gary!)
 

RedTiger

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Denis Irwin in my opinion is the best leftback we've ever had in my lifetime let alone EPL era.

Weirdly enough, if I were to make my all-time 11 then I'd actually play Evra on the left and Irwin on the right.
 

meamth

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One is a technical master with a magical left foot, another one is a consistent working hard monster.

I'd pick Irwin of course, but I had to vote for Evra because I've grown up with him.
 

El Jefe

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Facchetti was prior my time so I can't really say. Maldini was superior to Denis. However Denis was superior to both Evra and Carlos

Denis had it all. He was versatile, he was rock solid, he had great positioning and he was superb when going forward. He could have easily transitioned as a winger if he wanted to

Evra had better technique and pace but defensive wise he was meah. Thank god we had vidic and Rio back then. Carlos was even better to evra attacking wise but he was a liability in defence. Maldini on the other hand was a beast. He was better physically, defensively and position wise to all of them. What he lacked was Irwin's crossing/freekicks
This is just absolutely wrong.

I'd have to question if you even watched us to come out with that. Evra was superb defensively, before he started to get on a bit he literally had no weakness defensively. Excellent if not one of the best 1v1, read the game well, very fast and strong and for a short guy you'd find it hard to name many better than him in the air.
 

gerdm07

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Evra was more athletic and Irwin was just a smarter player. I really liked Evra but he always left me frustrated with little end product. He would get into great positions on attack with the ball but the end result was usually no assists and no goals. Valencia was the same way the last few years, just did not have a clue on a good final pass.
 

Hoof The Ball

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It's the highest form of revisionism to call Evra a great attacking left-back. The great majority of fans, especially on Redcafe, routinely made mention of Evra's lack of crossing ability and decision-making in the final third. Evra was a very good all-rounder, and possibly the best for a short period of his career, but he wasn't better than Irwin defensively, and most certainly not in the final third.
 

Handré1990

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It's the highest form of revisionism to call Evra a great attacking left-back. The great majority of fans, especially on Redcafe, routinely made mention of Evra's lack of crossing ability and decision-making in the final third. Evra was a very good all-rounder, and possibly the best for a short period of his career, but he wasn't better than Irwin defensively, and most certainly not in the final third.
This seems accurate to me. His positioning was also questionable at times. Still a great player for us.
 

Renegade

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It's the highest form of revisionism to call Evra a great attacking left-back. The great majority of fans, especially on Redcafe, routinely made mention of Evra's lack of crossing ability and decision-making in the final third. Evra was a very good all-rounder, and possibly the best for a short period of his career, but he wasn't better than Irwin defensively, and most certainly not in the final third.
He 100% was a great attacking full back. May not show in his assists and goals but he was a constant force of momentum and attacking drive down that left side.

His positioning only became suspect during his last couple seasons. He used to play almost every game for us so eventually burnt out.
 

Posh Red

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My memories of Irwin are fairly vague as I was a kid at a the time and was probably more interested in the forwards. How was he aerially? I remember Evra became really dangerous in the air in his last few years with us
 

RedRoseTyke

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Well Cole was better than Evra in my book and most neutrals would probably have Cole as the GOAT PL fullback.
(C)Ashley was not a character I warmed to, but it would be churlish to say he wasn't a top drawer left back - very good player.
 

devilish

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This is just absolutely wrong.

I'd have to question if you even watched us to come out with that. Evra was superb defensively, before he started to get on a bit he literally had no weakness defensively. Excellent if not one of the best 1v1, read the game well, very fast and strong and for a short guy you'd find it hard to name many better than him in the air.
He was average defensively. . Nothing wrong with that as he was an attacking fb and he had Rio and Vidic behind him. His trickery up front compensated for such lack

Irwin could do both jobs though and he could do them very well
 
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Offside

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Evra was absolutely brilliant 2006-2010 but dropped off in 2010/11 and I actually thought was verging on poor at times in 11/12. A lot of United fans including myself wanted Buttner to take his position at the start of 12/13 but Evra recovered his form to be fair to him although was still a liability in defence at times.
 

devilish

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I know that I'm going to be massacred for this, but he is getting a bit overrated here. You don't often see players who can impose themselves on the game and be a consistent match-winners from fullback positions — like Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Lahm or Dani Alves did at their best. Irwin was ridiculously complete — two-footed, can play on either side, very balanced in terms of his defensive and offensive contribution, but he had rarely won games on his own. Roberto Carlos was worse defensively that Irwin, but overall he was a more influential player — which is why he had almost won 2002 Ballon d'Or (finishing as a runner-up to Ronaldo in a very close race), got 2nd in FIFA World Player of the Year vote in 1997 and thrice became the best player in Brazilian league. Generally he was considered as one of the best players in the world at his peak. Denis Irwin was considered as one of the best fullbacks in the world in pretty much the same timespan, and there's a difference. You shouldn't trust those awards blindly, of course, and Carlos' marketable personality played a role in that, but it's hard to find objective arguments in those subjective comparisons.

Denis Irwin was fantastic — probably our best fullback ever (only Evra can compete with him, but I see why you'd choose Irwin over him) & generally a stupendously consistent player who won't look out of place in any team. But when you compare him to the very best, it's a bit like comparing Rooney to Messi (taking a play straight from your book), obviously taking different requirements for forwards/fullbacks in consideration — comparing a genuinely world-class generational great to one of the all-time greats.

Andreas Brehme is probably a better comparison to him, as he's much more similar to Irwin — both were two-footed, could play on either wing as either a full- or a wing-back, were taking penalties and free-kicks and also had an outstanding defensive presence, but, again, Brehme had scored a winner in the World Cup final and won Serie A Player of the Year in Inter Milan's title-winning season (competing against the likes of Maradona, van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard, Matthäus, Baggio etc.).
I remember Carlos starting at Inter. He was one of the so called converted fullbacks ie wingers who were moved into a full back position. That gave them an edge over more traditional fbs as they were more technically gifted. Carlos free kicks and crosses were surreal. However defensive wise it was like having Giggs ir Figo as FB especially in the early years

I don't overrate Irwin. He wasn't as good as the likes of Maldini, Zanetti or even Tassotti. However I'd rather have him as FB then Carlos. You see I come from a generation were defenders can actually defend. Irwin could both defend and attack superbly. Attacking wise he wasn't a Carlos but unlike Carlos he could actually defend his part of pitch very well. As said in my books a defender needs to know how to defend

British and Irish players tend to be massively underrated on the continent. Case in point United's players inability to win the balon d'or following the treble. The fact that Denis wasn't even the most popular Irish in our team didn't help.
 
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LimerickRed

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I was born in 94 so too young to remember Irwin, but more or less grew up with Evra, for a few one of the best LBs in the world

Poll says 60/30 for Irwin, was he really that much better then Evra? Honest question
 

harms

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By the way, it was Evra's birthday yesterday! :devil:

 
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I still dont know what Irwin's strongest foot was.
Exhibit A. Comfortably takes the ball forward, interchanges and uses both feet to score.

Not saying this type of thing is a deciding factor (there's loads of factors in deciding players' ability) but Evra couldn't score this goal. I'd add Irwin's freekick v Liverpool too....