Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has revealed he used to fear facing Manchester United counterpart Paul Scholes.
The Gunners record scorer was speaking ahead of the next meeting between Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Henry’s return to Arsenal on loan at 34 was emulated by Scholes’ decision to come out of retirement at 37 and the French striker spoke of the Old Trafford legend as being the greatest threat in their numerous previous meetings.
“United always had many amazing players, but whenever we faced them we were always, always, always scared of what Paul Scholes could do," Henry told Arsenal’s official website.
"Ask anyone from that old Arsenal team, they will tell you the same. If you let him play, he can kill you, and for me he was so underrated.
“The way he plays: one touch, arriving late into the box, the way he strikes the ball, his vision, his passing. Incredible.
“I know people used to give him some stick for his tackling, but I liked that. He put his foot in, showed some character, had a go, but I liked that about him too.
“For me he is one of the best midfielders I have ever seen.”
The New York Red Bulls forward first came across Manchester United and Scholes in August 1999 at Higbury and was expected to face them for the last time tomorrow.
However, he has been struggling with a calf injury and is a doubt for the game – a late fitness test will determine his participation.
It is an extremely important game for both sides, but for two very different reasons.
Ferguson’s side have to win if they are to capitalise on any slip-up by leaders Manchester City, who meet Tottenham in the earlier kick-off.
Whereas Wenger will be urging his team to pull off an improbable victory to close the gap on fourth placed Chelsea, who could only draw away to Norwich earlier today.
While they realistically have different aims for their seasons, a loss for either side could mean falling behind rivals close to them.
Tomorrow’s fixture does not have the same riding on it as it usually did when the two returning veterans were in their pomp, but the presence of legends is sure to help put a bit more bite into what should be an exhilarating clash.