The humble family man and reluctant hero were recurring themes in the tributes on Paul Scholes' 500th appearance for Manchester United last weekend but, according to the Bolton manager, Sam Allardyce, they are also the principal reasons for the gifted midfielder's failure to secure official recognition from his peers.
Player of the Year awards, from the Professional Footballers' Association or the Football Writers' Association, are rare omissions from Scholes' curriculum vitae and while that oversight is unlikely to cause the former England international undue concern, his form for the Premiership leaders makes the spotlight he shuns unavoidable.
"He's too quiet and unassuming. He's kept his profile as low as he possibly could and I think that is the only reason he hasn't won any of the individual awards," Allardyce said yesterday. "But he is one of the world's best and that's the opinion of everyone else in football."
Allardyce's Bolton will be charged with the task of curbing the midfielder's influence tomorrow as third face first at the Reebok in what will be, even with a home side hit by injury and suspension, a fierce examination of United's championship credentials. The Bolton manager, however, admits that even in peak condition his side may be powerless to prevent Wayne Rooney, Scholes and Ryan Giggs from dominating.
"Rooney seems to have started playing exceptional well again after a bit of a lean time," Allardyce added. "You can't make plans to stop him - not if he is on top form. I think he can challenge the world's best and he was certainly that when we played them at Old Trafford last season.
"But there are other players in their team who can damage you - Scholes is a like a new player for Sir Alex and he is showing his class above all midfield players in this country again. And Ryan Giggs seems to have got a new lease of life and is enjoying his football and playing better than ever."Reuse content