Edu explains why Manchester United legend Paul Scholes was the toughest player he ever had to mark

Edu looks on during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Liverpool
Edu has named Paul Scholes as the toughest player he ever had to mark (Picture: Getty)

Former Arsenal star Edu has picked out Manchester United great Paul Scholes as the toughest player he ever had to mark and says the midfielder posed a ‘different’ kind of threat to any other opponent he faced in his career.

Edu completed a move from Corinthians to Arsenal for a fee of just £6million in January 2001 and became one of Arsene Wenger’s most trusted squad members in his four-and-a-half year stay in north London.

Arsenal would go on to win the Premier League title in Edu’s first full season at the club and the versatile midfielder played a key role two years later as the Gunners made history by going the entire 2003/04 campaign unbeaten.

Paul Scholes celebrates scoring for Manchester United against Bolton in the Premier League
Edu had several battles with Scholes during his time in north London (Picture: Getty)

The Brazilian, now technical director at the Emirates, sat down for a lengthy discussion with Gilberto for Arsenal’s official website this weekend and the pair covered a range of subjects, from Gabriel Martinelli’s outstanding start at Arsenal to their memories of the Invincibles season.

Asked to name the toughest player he had to mark during his playing days, Edu replied: ‘I always mention a player and people look at me like this (surprised) and ask why?

‘The difficulty for us wasn’t playing against an extremely talented player, it was rather playing against intelligent players who seem to know what you’re thinking.

‘I’m going to take a touch, I’m going to take two touches, I’m going to win it back… and there is a guy who I played against and I can tell you that it’s Paul Scholes.

‘Every time I faced him, I thought he was different from the rest. He was always thinking and his thoughts were different from mine.’

Edu also reserved special praise for Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta and said he had to be ‘fully focussed’ when up against the Spaniard.

‘There were others as well who were incredible to play against. I used to joke that he was the midfield Messi: Iniesta.

‘When I faced him, I understood that he was different, with the way he drove forward, his thoughts and quick thinking.

‘When I had to play against them, I had to be fully focussed as it was tough!’

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