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The Irish XI With The Most Premier League Appearances

The Irish XI With The Most Premier League Appearances
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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While Irish players in the Premier League are becoming an increasing rarity, there was a time when the English top flight featured quite a large amount of names from this part of the world.

Over the first couple of decades after the divisions induction in 1992, most teams had at least a couple of squad members from Ireland. Some of them managed to rack up a huge amount of appearances over the course of their careers.

As a result, the Irish XI with the most appearances in the Premier League is quite an eye-catching one.

Just to note, this is not necessarily the 11 Irish players with the most appearances in the Premier League. Positions matter, meaning a couple of players have missed out despite having played more games than others who were included.

Here's the team in full.

Ireland XI with most Premier League appearances

GK: Shay Given (451 appearances)

Shay Given is the runaway appearance leader when it comes to Irish goalkeeper, playing a full 256 games more than the second-placed Dean Kiely.

The Donegal man made the majority of his appearances at Newcastle United, also featuring in the division for Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Aston Villa, and Stoke City.


RB: Stephen Carr (377 appearances)

A two-time PFA Team of the Year awardee, Stephen Carr probably had one of the most underrated Premier League careers among Irish players. It is certainly a shame that he only earned 44 caps at international level, never making an appearance in a major tournament.

Right back is one of the deeper positions in this team, with Seamus Coleman, Gary Kelly, and Jeff Kenna also making over 300 appearances in the division.

CB: John O'Shea (445 appearances)

John O'Shea made a massive 445 Premier League appearances in his career, most of which came at Manchester United. He would win five league titles, a Champions League, FA Cup, and two League Cups during his time at Old Trafford.


The Waterford man would also have a lengthy stint at Sunderland, experiencing relegation in the 2016/17 campaign.

CB: Richard Dunne (431 appearances)

Richard Dunne had a major impact at both Manchester City and Aston Villa, winning player of the year in four consecutive seasons at the former and being included in the PFA Team of the Year while at the latter. He also played for Everton and QPR in the English top flight.

Kenny Cunningham would have been next in line at centre back, making 335 appearances in the Premier League.


LB: Denis Irwin (328 appearances)

The definition of consistency, Denis Irwin was equally comfortable at either fullback position. He is of course best remembered for his time at Manchester United, winning seven league titles as well as various other honours during a 12-year spell at Old Trafford.

He would also have one campaign in the division with Wolves, retiring in 2004. Irwin would have another 40 appearances under his belt if his first two seasons at United were eligible for this list.

RM: Damien Duff (392 appearances)


Damien Duff was among the best wingers in the Premier League for a number of years in the 00s, winning two league titles during his time at Chelsea. He also comes in at fourth position when it comes to top Irish goalscorers in the division.


The Dubliner would also spend time with Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, and Fulham, spending at least three seasons at each club.

CM: Roy Keane (366 appearances)

Without doubt the top Irish player of the Premier League era, Roy Keane remains one of the most dominant figures the division has witnessed. He racked up an incredible amount of trophies at Manchester United, captaining the club for the majority of his time at Old Trafford.

His CV certainly speaks for itself.


CM: Rory Delap (359 appearances)

Many often forget just how long Rory Delap spent in the Premier League, being one of only three players to make over 100 appearances in the division for three different clubs. Despite this, he would win only 11 caps for Ireland.

Lee Carsley, Glenn Whelan, and James McCarthy would be next in line for the central midfield positions, each playing over 270 games.

LM: Kevin Kilbane (325 appearances)

Kevin Kilbane could play in a number of different positions, but he slots nicely into the left midfield role in this team.


He spent time in the Premier League with Sunderland, Everton, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City.

ST: Robbie Keane (349 appearances)

Far and away the leading Irish goalscorer in the Premier League era, Robbie Keane also ranks inside the top ten on the appearances list.

He played for no fewer than six clubs in the division during his career, although over half of those appearances would come during his two separate stints at Spurs.

ST: Shane Long (344 appearances)

The only player in this team who is still actually playing, Shane Long brought his stint in the Premier League to an end this summer when he joined Reading from Southampton on a free transfer.

The Tipperary man made just under 200 appearances in the division during his time at St Mary's, also featuring for Reading, West Brom, and Hull City.


The Team In Full

Certainly not a bad team.

Seamus Coleman is the only current player who look to have a chance at breaking into this side any time soon, although he does still sit almost 50 games behind Stephen Carr and is now coming towards the end of his career.

In other words, it is likely that this side won't be changed for the foreseeable future.

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