‘You get involved physically with him, you’re wasting your time’ — Paul Scholes gives verdict on very difficult opponent

Former Manchester United midfielder, Paul Scholes has named the three toughest players he faced during his time as a professional footballer for Manchester United.

Scholes spent 19 years at Old Trafford, before hanging up his boots in 2013. During that time, the 47 year old won eleven league titles, three FA Cups and two UEFA Champions League titles.

When recently speaking about the best opposing players he faced during that time, the United legend mentioned some surprise names, while omitting the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

He said on BBC Radio 5’s Savage Social show, “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 [Robbie Savage]. An absolute nuisance, trying to close you down dead quick. I don’t want that, I just want it nice and relaxed.

“The way I played I didn’t really have to beat people or be stronger, quicker than the other person.

“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.

“There’s one more that people won’t think of. We used to play against Portsmouth. Do you remember Pape Bouba Diop? Big, massive. They used to call him the wardrobe.

“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.”