Paul Scholes has named former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira as one of his toughest ever opponents, crediting the Frenchman’s ‘awkward’ style of play.
The pair clashed numerous times throughout their respective careers, with Scholes’ Manchester United and Vieira’s Gunners fighting for the title for the majority of the late 90s and the early 2000s.
Throughout that run, Vieira and Manchester United star Roy Keane regularly butted heads, but it seems the Frenchman was also causing problems for Scholes.
“As a player I played against, Vieira was brilliant,” Scholes revealed during an appearance on the A Goal In One podcast.
“The way I played there was never an opponent I had to be fitter than, stronger than, more physical than. I was never that type of player, I was a passing player.”
But Vieira was different and Scholes struggled to deal with his ‘awkard’ style of play.
“I could beat players with passing but Vieira, he was just so awkward, so tall, so long, so leggy. Just when you thought you had it he would nick it over your head,” the former England man added.
The two players had a completely different style of play, but both are considered two of the finest midfielders in the Premier League’s history.
During his nine years at Arsenal, Vieira was a huge part of the club’s rejuvenation under Arsène Wenger and the Frenchman won three league titles with the Gunners, captaining the side for two of them – including the ‘Invincibles’ season.
Meanwhile, Scholes was a key figure in Manchester United’s dominance throughout the 90s and 2000s and won numerous trophies during his 20 years at Old Trafford.
Scholes has played with and against some world-class talent during his career, and while he doesn’t think Vieira has the best ability out of anyone he’s come across, he believes his playing style makes him one of his toughest ever opponents.
“He was just so awkward to play against but what a really good player. He wasn’t just a holding player, he got himself forward, he could score goals, he could make goals. He had great energy,” he continued.
“Whenever people ask me who’s the best I played against [Okay maybe] not the best [ability wise] but the most awkward I played against, it was Vieira.”