Paul McGrath is an Irish former footballer, who played as a defender. Mainly a central defender, he can also play as defensive midfielder. McGrath is widely considered one of the greatest ever Irish players.
In a career greatly hampered by injuries and off-the-field problems, he played 14 professional seasons with Aston Villa and Manchester United (seven apiece). He also played for St Patrick’s Athletic, Derby County and Sheffield United. Also a long-time member of the Republic of Ireland national team, he appeared at the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA Euro 1988, the team’s first-ever international tournament.
In 1982, McGrath moved to Manchester United, then managed by Ron Atkinson. He missed out on a place in the FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion the following year, but soon ousted Gordon McQueen to become the regular partner to Kevin Moran in the centre of defence.
He was named Man of the match for the 1985 FA Cup Final, which United won 1-0 against Everton and which was largely remembered for the sending off of Kevin Moran – the first ever in the competition’s final. In his early years at Manchester United, McGrath was frequently used as a midfielder, changing to defender still at Old Trafford. While he had a lazy running style, he did not lack pace.
McGrath won his first full cap against Italy in 1985, last playing 12 years later, against Wales. During that time, he was often regarded as the single most influential player Ireland had in the national team’s glory days. He was capped 83 times, scoring eight goals.
McGrath was a major part of the breakthrough of Ireland’s national team of the late 1980s and early 1990s. During the early part of Jack Charlton’s era, he played as a defensive midfielder, due to the wealth of talent Ireland had in defence. In UEFA Euro 1988, as the national side first qualified for an international tournament, McGrath was present in the 1–0 group stage win against England.
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When at corporate events, Jim is known to cover the following topics:
- Football Management
- Peak Performance
- Sporting Success
- Drive & Determination
- Peak Performance
- Manchester United