Paul Scholes names Arsenal legend as one of the players he feared most

Scholes did not enjoying his duels with Vieira.

Former Manchester United star Paul Scholes has admitted it was always daunting coming up against Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira.

Vieira remains one of the all-time great Premier League midfielders, along with Scholes, and it’s interesting to hear the Man Utd icon open up about how tough it was to play against the former Gunners captain.

Combining strength and aggression with great technique and intelligence, Vieira truly had it all in the middle of the park and it would be unsurprising if many of the best players also named him as one of their toughest ever opponents when he was at his peak.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Scholes explained why he found it so difficult coming up against Vieira, and also named another somewhat surprising name as one of the opponents he feared most in midfield.

Along with Vieira, he admits he also hated playing against Papa Bouba Diop, who had spells at Fulham and Portsmouth.

Scholes said: “As a midfield player, especially the way I played, I didn’t really have to beat people, I didn’t have to be stronger than the other person, I didn’t have to be quicker than the other person, it was more my passing that beat them.

“I suppose the awkward ones… obviously Patrick Vieira, he’s so long, he’s so big. You think you’ve got the ball, next minute he nicks the ball over your head.

“He was a clever player as well, he could play one-twos around you, he could score goals, he could make goals.

“There’s one more that people won’t think of, when I played against Portsmouth, do you remember Papa Bouba Diop? He played for Fulham as well.

“Big, massive, they used to call him the wardrobe. Get involved with him physically, you’re absolutely wasting your time. I always found him awkward to play against.

“Look, he wasn’t a Patrick Vieira, of course he wasn’t, but he still had talent. As far as players being awkward to play against, I always found him a nuisance.”

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