Throughout the history of Manchester United, we can find players of various nationalities. Not surprisingly, since the foundation of the football club, also many Irish footballers have played for Manchester United. Altogether 60 players contributed to the great successes of the Red Devils.
If you are wondering which country gave more players to Manchester United, the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland: the winner is the Republic of Ireland, but there is only a small difference between the two. Amongst the Reds, 32 players had the nationality of the Republic of Ireland, and 28 players had the nationality of Northern Ireland.
Let’s see who are the latest Irish footballers that played for Manchester United.
Ethan Galbraith is a young and talented player from Northern Ireland who joined Manchester United on 1 July 2017. He was spotted first by the team’s scout Tony Coulter. After his debut in the club, he played in the position of midfielder and helped his team win the title Under-18 Premier League North. Later, the Manchester United Under-23s player was offered a senior Northern Ireland debut as a substitute in a friendly football match against Luxembourg on 5 September 2019.
Galbraith’s talent has caught the eye of many people, also the club leaders. As a result, he signed a new long-term contract with the Reds in October 2020, and this deal will keep him playing for the club at least until June 2023. The contract has the option to be extended for one more year as well.
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The next Irish player we should talk about is Paddy McNair who is a former Manchester United star. He is also from Northern Ireland, just like Ethan Galbraith. He played for Manchester United between 2014 and 2016. 6 months after his arrival from Ballyclare Colts, he made his debut for O’Neill’s team in a friendly match against Scotland. During his career at the Red Devils, McNair made 27 first-team appearances. The midfielder left Manchester United because he wanted to join another club, Sunderland.
The most recent player from the Republic of Ireland who played for Manchester United is Robbie Brady. His career at the Reds didn’t last for very long, he played for the club only from 2012 to 2013. During this period, he had only one first-team appearance and didn’t score any goals.
Jonny Evans is a Northern Irish footballer who was scouted by Manchester United while playing for Greenisland FC. Evans debuted in a famous match against Spain when his team won with the result of 3-2. He stayed at the Reds between 2006 and 2015. During these years at the club, he showed his talent as a defender. He played altogether 198 games and scored 7 goals. Finally, Evans left the club in 2015 to join West Bromwich Albion.
The next player who represented the Republic of Ireland is Michael Keane. He started his career at Manchester United in 2009 as an academic scholar. Then, he signed his contract with the Reds in 2011 and played for the club until 2015. He had his first-team debut in 2011 in the League Cup where he played as a substitute against Aldershot Town. He had 5 appearances during the years he spent at the club as a centre-back.
Darron Gibson joined Manchester United in 2005 and played his first game against Barnet as a substitute. With his 60 appearances and 10 scored goals, he is amongst the best Irish players that played for the club.
The Northern Irish player, Roy Carroll signed his contract with the Red Devils in July 2001. One month later he made his debut against Aston Villa with a result of 1-1. The goalkeeper played 72 games for Manchester United, and also earned a Premier League winners’ medal in the 2002/03 season. He left the club in 2005 after his contract expired.
The last Irish footballer on our list is Liam Miller who holds the nationality of the Republic of Ireland. After leaving Celtic, Miller decided to join Manchester United in 2004. He had a chance to show his talent first when he debuted as a substitute in a 2-1 win at the team of Dinamo Bucharest. He finished his career at the Reds with 22 first-team appearances and 2 goals in 2006 and joined Sunderland. The former Manchester United midfielder died in 2018 after losing his battle to cancer.