Some overdue praise for El Hadji Diouf
Rovers boss Sam Allardyce has hailed the early season impact of El Hadji Diouf and claimed a lot of work has gone on trying to shed the bad boy image that follows him around.
There is about as much chance of Sasman having a sex change than El Hadji Diouf losing the negative reputation that he has, too much damage has already been done.
But there is no harm in a fresh start and that is what The Hadji has done for himself with some outstanding early season performances full of industry and largely free of clowning around.
And Big Sam confirmed that a lot of work and effort has gone into the new El Hadji Diouf.
Allardyce spoke to the Lancashire Telegraph and said - "We`ve spent a lot of time on making sure he tries to get rid of that image he had before. He`s never going to lose it, there`s no danger about that.
"It is about can you handle him. He`s not so much a difficult character because he`s a jovial pleasant lad and fantastic from that point of view, but he has little spells where he loses his cool and makes trouble for himself that he shouldn`t make.
"But he`s maturing somewhat and that`s hopefully going to get better and better, and he keeps playing the football he was today.
"Basically we talked to him about the stuff he has to be careful of. People will look out for him because he portrays himself in this image with stand out clothes.
"He has some of the worst gear you`ve ever seen in your life. You can`t miss him from three miles away with some of the colours. Big chains, big belts, big blond hair.
"He still goes out obviously but I don`t think he`s still flashing around in the big nightclubs around Manchester like he used to. That`s helping his game."
After having a hand in both goals, it was difficult to ignore that the Senegal man was a massive influence on the victory at Bloomfield Road.
The Big Man said - "Diouf was absolutely brilliant, it was a major, major contribution to us winning the game today.
"The threat he posed down the left-hand side or when he switched over to the right made life very difficult for their full-backs. He provided lots of dangerous balls into the box for us to try and take advantage of.
"It gave us a breather as well. He picked the ball up deep in his own half when we were under pressure and took it right up to their penalty area. Nobody could get the ball off him today.
"From our point of view it`s about how he plays on the field, and he`s been consistently good for us. Not just in this game but the whole season. " Diouf`s Premier League best has coincided with playing under Allardyce`s stewardship, first at Bolton and now at Rovers.
Allardyce has always been the one guy that seems to be able to keep the more senior Diouf in check and focused (well as much as you can with Diouf), but when asked what it took to control him the main theme seemed to be that of respect.
Allardyce continued - "He had spells like this at Bolton when we first got him, he was a major contributor to us reaching Europe and finishing in the top eight or better when I was there and in those last four seasons before I left."
"I wouldn`t say he`s scared of me. I think he respects me and I respect his ability. If he gets into trouble he gets punished like everybody else.
"It`s a maturity thing for him. He`s come from Senegal, spent many years in France and then comes over here as a bit of a jack-the-lad.
"He got a little bit carried away but obviously has settled down now and long may it continue."