Paul Scholes reveals his three toughest Premier League opponents
Manchester United icon Paul Scholes has named three midfielders in his list of the toughest opponents he has come up against during his playing days. Scholes is considered one of the best midfielders of all time, and given his record with Manchester United and England very few could argue that.
Scholes played at Manchester United for a whopping 19 years, making a total of 718 appearances during which he won 16 titles, including 11 Premier League titles. The player turned football pundit recently gave out a surprising list of players against whom he found it the most difficult to play in midfield, and two of those three are very surprising choices.
Paul Scholes named Patrick Vieira, Robbie Savage and Papa Bouba Diop as the three toughest players to play against
Paul Scholes identified former Arsenal midfielder and captain, Patrick Vieira as one of those three and it was a choice which most midfielders would have made, who had the privilege of playing against Vieira in his prime days.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5’s Savage Social show, he said, “I suppose Patrick Vieira, you play against him, he is so long, he is so big. You think you’ve got the ball, and the next minute he nicks it over your head, he was a clever player as well.”
The next player in Scholes’ was the host of the show, Robbie Savage. Savage was a former teammate of his at the academy level and he played for a number of Premier League clubs after leaving United in 1994.
Giving his reason for picking Savage, Paul Scholes said: “When I played central midfield I like to go into games thinking, I just want to have all the time in the world here, just nobody around me, just find a little bit of space and pass the ball around.
“Then you play against people like you [Savage]. An absolute nuisance, trying to close you down dead quick. I don’t want that, I just want it nice and relaxed.”
The third choice in Paul Scholes’ esteemed list was Papa Bouba Diop. The Senegalese international was a towering figure and played for Fulham and Portsmouth during his time at the Premier League.
‘There’s one more that people won’t think of. We used to play against Portsmouth. Do you remember Papa Bouba Diop? Big, massive. They used to call him- the Wardrobe”, said Paul Scholes.
“You get involved physically with him and you’re wasting your time. I always found him awkward to play against. He wasn’t a Vieira, of course, he wasn’t, but he still had talent.”