Paul McGrath Ireland BSI

‘Paul McGrath Is Ireland’s Best Ever Player’ – Dwight Yorke

Ireland have produced some top football talents with the likes of Roy Keane, Denis Irwin and Paul McGrath – but does one stand above the rest?

Man United legend Dwight Yorke thinks so as he gave us his opinion on who he thinks is Ireland’s greatest ever player. Yorke played with Roy Keane during his time at Man United which makes his answer all the more interesting to Irish football fans.

We also got Yorke’s take on the other hot topics in Irish footballing circles including what it was like playing with Tony Cascarino at Aston Villa, how good Declan Rice could have been for Ireland and if Caoimhin Kelleher needs to leave Liverpool.

Denis Irwin Was Mr Consistency

Q. Denis Irwin was always known as the reliable 8/10 performance every week. Was he the most consistent player you played with?

Denis Irwin was right up there with the very best in terms of consistency, so was Paul Scholes.

There weren’t many players in our time where they had nightmare moments in games, but Irwin never had that and was very good every week. You see what you get with Irwin, there’s nothing flamboyant about it. Irwin also lived that way too and had that character.

Ireland’s Best Ever Player

Q. Where does he rank among Ireland’s best ever players?

For me, Paul McGrath is Ireland’s best ever player, and Dennis Irwin is on par with Roy Keane as the second best.

Was Roy Keane’s Career Cut Short By Injuries?

Q. Do you think Roy Keane would’ve had a longer career if he didn’t leave Man United in 2005?

I’m not sure he would’ve had a longer career because injuries caught up with him, but he would’ve been a better manager had he gone about things in a different way.

You get to an age as a player where you can’t do the things that you want to do and it happens to the best of us, even the greats of the game.

Playing With Tony Cascarino At Aston Villa

Q. As a youngster at Aston Villa, did you learn from Tony Cascarino? Where does he rank among Ireland’s greatest footballers? 

Tony Cascarino was a big guy with a big reputation and he knew I was a young lad who was trying to compare myself with him and see why he was as good as he was. You’re never too old or too young to learn about players. Every player has a strength and a weakness.

I’ve always tried to take the good things from players I’ve played with and Tony could head the ball. His technique was really good and that’s something I learnt from Cascarino.

He also had great banter and was a real entertainer.

Could Declan Rice Become A Better Player Than Roy Keane?

Q. If Declan Rice had decided to play for Ireland, would he have been their best player since Roy Keane? Could he go on to be better than Roy Keane?

Declan Rice isn’t in Roy Keane’s bracket. He’s very good and I know that all the English fans big him up but he doesn’t influence games much.

He does good things but he’s not a Scholesy.

He’ll never be anywhere near as good as Roy Keane.

He’s a good player, who plays well for England and does well enough for West Ham.

I get why the media are raving about him because he’s English, but if he was foreign then he’d be deemed as just a good player.

You pay £100million+ for players who can split teams apart with their passing and I don’t see that from Rice. I see a dogged midfielder who gets his foot stuck in but for that kind of money, you have to do more.

If he didn’t change his international allegiance to England, he’d be getting next to no recognition.

Caoimhin Kelleher To Spurs?

Q. Does Caoimhin Kelleher need to leave Liverpool and would Spurs be a good option, like Emmanuel Petit said?

Goalkeepers are always in strange situations. Dean Henderson had a situation where he left Manchester United to get game time at Nottingham Forest. Very few goalkeepers come in and take over, and when you have Alisson ahead of you, it’s frustrating for Caoimhin Kelleher.

He might have to leave to get some game time under his belt. It’s a possibility that he could replace Hugo Lloris but they might have their eyes on someone else. But I’m sure other clubs would want Kelleher, he’s a good goalkeeper and he has to compete with the other good goalkeepers out there, he has to get lucky.

It’s about being patient as a goalkeeper before you get a real chance to be the number one.

A Summer Move For Ivan Toney?

Q. Ivan Toney has a few games left before a potential ban, how important is it for him to perform now if he wants a summer move?

I don’t know enough about Ivan Toney’s situation to make a comment on it. But it’s crazy that a player can get in those sorts of situations when you’re in such a good job as it is. There’s so much else you can do out there and not suffer the consequences.

I hope for Toney’s sake that he can take a break and be ready to get back into football if he is found guilty.

The consequences are severe so players like Toney should know better, I hope it gets overturned so he can get back to playing football.

How Good Are Arsenal’s Front Three?

Q. Would you of like to play in the middle and in front of Saka, Martinelli and Odegaard? How much do you rate them?

Anybody, including myself, would love to play in this Arsenal team at the moment. Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard’s youth and energy brings so much to their team. They play on the front foot, Mikel Arteta has used the energy of these young players so well. Arsenal play excellent football and are exciting going forward.

But all things are going well for them at the moment, and we need to see when things go against them. Some players might get found out when the team stops winning as many games as they have, and then they won’t have anywhere to hide.

When Arsenal were losing and came back against Bournemouth, it was a clear sign of a Premier League-winning team, that’s when you need players to rally.

Some players turned up for Arsenal in that game and some didn’t. The wins against Aston Villa and Bournemouth are big wins and will fill them with confidence.

These last-minute winners have happened in the whole of the Premier League’s history, the top teams get tested and the other teams are trying to stop you from winning the league. These moments Arsenal have been through shows they have been tested and have overcome it.

Arsenal could have easily dropped points in the Aston Villa and Bournemouth games, and they didn’t, people will keep saying they’ll crumble but I’m not so sure now. From a manager’s perspective, Bournemouth is a step in the right direction and Arteta will be very happy with the result.

Yorke also gave us his insight in a recent post on what it was like playing under Sir Alex Ferguson at Man United during Cheltenham Week.

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