The Ghanaian spent seven years at Chelsea, helping the club to multiple Premier League titles as well as the UEFA Champions League.
Essien’s trophy-laden stint at the Stamford Bridge saw him face off with some of the world’s best players, both in England and across Europe.
However, discussing the toughest players he has played against, the 37-year-old picked Scholes and Gerrard.
According to him, the two English midfielders were not just good passers of the ball, but were equally great tacklers.
"It's between Steven Gerard and Paul Scholes,” Essien said when asked about the subject by South African sports journalist Carol Tshabalala.
“Those two players were quite tough to play against. They were not only good on the ball but they could tackle really hard. They were really tough but the Premier League was much more tough compared to now."
"Every team you come up against was difficult so you have to try to be tougher."
Essien’s football career started with Ghanaian side Liberty Professionals, but he progressed to play for the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and AC Milan.