When El Hadji-Diouf first arrived at the Reebok he was fearless. Sam Allardyce played the tempermental Senegal International on the right side of a front three, and the man (as well as the team) thrived. Every time Diouffy got the ball he would attack, running straight at defenders and forcing them into mistakes.
Unfortunately, this daring faded as time went by. By the time Diouf left Bolton Wanderers, his favorite move was to get the ball, turn around, take a few steps sideways, and play a ten yard pass back to the holding midfielder.
Martin Petrov had the same fearlessness. But Owen Coyle never played him, and Dougie Freedman let him leave for free. Jack Wilshire had the fearlessness, but he went back to Arsenal. Daniel Sturridge had that swashbuckling confidence, and now he is showing it for Liverpool. Chung-Yong Lee had it, but he has gone the way of El Hadji-Diouf. Age, injury, and (perhaps) indifference has left Lee a shell of his former self. Going into Saturday's match against Birmingham City, it had been a long time since Bolton supporters had seen a fearless winger take on his defenders and try to make something happen.
Enter Liam Feeney. Feeney was epic on Saturday. Every time he got the ball he ran at his defender. He tried to make something happen. He tried to score a goal himself, or create a goal for someone else. It was just what Bolton needed, at the exact moment they needed it.
Feeney is 26 years old. This is not the first chance he's ever had. He is a flawed player, and those flaws will likely be exposed in the coming weeks. But for 90 minutes, he was everything he ever hoped he would be. It was a fine footballing performance. In fact, it was a Man of The Match Performance.