By Greg Stobart
Aaron Lennon may walk with swagger and sprint like a roadrunner, but the Tottenham winger prefers to shun the limelight, refusing to conduct interviews with the media and generally choosing to keep a low profile.
It is almost as if he has been forgotten by many, yet the 25-year-old is now in the form of his life and truly delivering on the raw potential that he showed when he first burst into the Tottenham first team after signing from Leeds in 2005.
In Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Manchester United, he produced his latest man-of-the-match display as Andre Villas-Boas’ side snatched a deserved point thanks to Clint Dempsey’s dramatic strike in added time.
Yet while Sir Alex Ferguson was able to produce a plan to nullify Gareth Bale on Spurs’ left flank it was almost as if the visitors forgot about Lennon, despite his history of excellent performances up against United left-back Patrice Evra.
The winger always looked the most likely man to unlock the United defence and was duly on hand as the clock ticked down to keep his cool in the area and pick out Dempsey with an accurate square pass.
Lennon was at the heart of Tottenham’s best moves. In the first half he tested United goalkeeper David De Gea with a stinging left-footed strike, while after the break he twice created good chances for Jermain Defoe after turning in midfield and running at the opposition back four.
On current form, Lennon should walk in to the England team. He is possibly the most underrated player in the top flight at the moment as the likes of Bale hog the headlines at White Hart Lane.
What has really improved under Villas-Boas’ management has been Lennon’s decision-making. Not only does he have the pace and dribbling ability to terrify defenders, but he now has the vision and the quality to pick out the right ball in the final third.
As Spurs chase a top-four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League - they now sit fourth in the table - Lennon will be vital to the north London club’s chances of achieving their goals this season.
"He has been massive. Sometimes he lives a little bit in the shadows, but he recognises being at another level in terms of his performances," was Villas-Boas’ assessment of Lennon after the winger’s winning goal against Sunderland last month.
Aaron Lennon is 4/1 to score anytime against Norwich with bet365
"He has been tremendous for us, not only creating but scoring too.
"He is creating within himself such a winning mentality for Tottenham. It's important to have him around and for the fans to see his desire and commitment in every single game.”
Lennon has scored three goals and provided seven assists having played in every Premier League game, and his importance to the side was highlighted by Villas-Boas as he made the Leeds-born midfielder captain for Europa League matches earlier in the season.
He may only be 25, but Lennon is taking on the responsibility of a senior player having already made 297 appearances for Spurs in all competitions and been capped 20 times by England.
He has been one of Tottenham’s best players so far this season, and certainly their most consistent. The Londoners will be happy for him to keep a low profile off the pitch - as long as he continues to play at his explosive best on it.