Scholes explains why ‘awkward’ Vieira was his toughest Man Utd opponent

Paul Scholes has explained how Patrick Vieira's 'awkwardness' made him one of his toughest opponents on the pitch during his career.

The former Man Utd midfielder came up against Vieira on numerous occasions in fierce battles with rivals Arsenal in the late 90s and early noughties.

Vieira was one of the key men behind Arsenal's revival into becoming title challengers, and would often be at loggerheads with United captain Roy Keane.

But it seems he also gave Scholes a big headache too when they faced off on the field.

"As a player I played against Vieira was brilliant," Scholes told 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.

"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."

As Scholes suggests, as players Vieira and him had very different styles, but both are regarded among the top central midfielders of the Premier League era.

During his nine-year stint in England, Vieira helped Arsenal to three league titles, two of which were as captain, including the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season of 2003/04.

Ex-United boss Sir Alex Ferguson even made several attempts to sign Vieira at the end of the Frenchman's days at Arsenal, though he instead moved to Juventus.

Scholes added: "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.

"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."

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