The Premier League has been blessed with some pretty special central midfielders over the years, and Cesc Fabregas has been discussing how some of the best have influenced his own game.
Fabregas became Arsenal’s youngest ever player when he made his debut for the North London club back in October 2003 as a fresh-faced 16-year-old, the Spaniard moving to England having opted to leave Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, eventually going on to become the Gunners captain.
He would rejoin the Catalonian giants in 2011 before returning to the Premier League in 2014, spending four-and-a-half years at Chelsea and establishing himself as one of the most creative players the division has seen, registering 111 assists in the top-flight, second only to Ryan Giggs.
Currently plying his trade with Ligue 1 side Monaco, Fabregas has discussed some of the great central midfielders to grace the English top-flight, admitting he used to ‘look up’ to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, while saying his game was more akin to that of Manchester United legend, Paul Scholes.
“Since I was little I had this thing about Steven Gerrard,” Fabregas told Rio Ferdinand on The Locker Room.
“He was someone in my hometown when we used to watch the highlights of the Premier League he used to score these screamers from outside the box, and running into space, and he used to be everywhere and I used to look up to him a lot.
“In terms of the way I play and the way that I see football, it is Paul Scholes.
“What a player. He loved one-twos, he was right, he was left, he always demanded the ball, he had the long-ball into space.”
Fabregas became a Premier League regular for Arsenal in 2004/05, featuring alongside many of the famed ‘Invincibles’ side and when asked as to who most helped with his development, he admitted that former Gunners midfield man Patrick Vieira was a particular influence.
“If I have to say one in particular, maybe Patrick [Vieira] because he was also my position,” he replied.
“And you know, even if I was 16, sometimes you can feel a bit threatened as a player – even if I was a nobody. But sometimes you just feel like ‘I’m going to show him since day one that I’m the boss’. And he did actually and that helped me in terms of training.
“But outside, he was fantastic like telling me: ‘Hey Cesc, maybe you should work on this, or you know, put your body this way, or, you know, when I come from behind you should always look’.
“You know, stuff like this is like: ‘Wow this guy is a proper legend’.”