Dapo Afolayan celebrated his 24th birthday in style at Ipswich – but insisted: “It’s not all about me!”
The Wanderers winger scored twice to end a 20-year wait for a league win at Portman Road and continue an electric run of form which had Ian Evatt billing him as the “best player in League One”.
Afolayan knows all eyes are on him right now, but he believes his team-mates deserve their share of the spotlight.
“You know, whether I’m playing well or it is someone else, there are people watching you at a big club like this,” he told The Bolton News.
“At this moment it is me but is will be someone else soon. And there are guys who deserve it, too, because we are playing well as a group.
“Doyler (Eoin Doyle) was amazing. They are saying he was like a prime Romelu Lukaku in there.
“And that’s the beauty. We play well as a team and everyone contributes. I’m just as happy for my goal as the one that Johnno (George Johnston) scored at the end.”
After the game a video circulated online which showed an Ipswich fan aiming sickening abuse at Afolayan, which has now been passed on to Suffolk Police. Another instance, confined to Twitter, is also being investigated.
Ipswich have vowed to take “strong, but appropriate action” and are now working with the authorities.
The Wanderers winger had pre-planned a celebration if he scored at Portman Road, explaining after the game: “When we got down here on Friday we went down to Tesco and got a party hat. I left it behind the goal so when I scored I ran behind the goal, picked it up and celebrated with a hat on my head.
“By the sounds of it, the Ipswich fans were all shouting ‘Happy Birthday!’ “It was good fun. And I always get my Clubcard points.”
Afolayan scored the first and third goals of the day and won the penalty which allowed Eoin Doyle to put Wanderers 2-1 up.
He got a hostile reception from the home support – which is becoming a recurring theme as he becomes increasingly influential for his side.
But the former West Ham man says it will not affect his performances on the pitch.
“I go out there to perform, score goals, create goals for the team,” he said.
“If the fans like or don’t like it, I don’t think it is up to me.
“I was in a good mood today. I had the celebration planned and them hating it made it better.
“But the goal is always to put on a good performance.”
Wanderers and Afolayan are getting plaudits for the quality of their football but cannot allow themselves to lose focus.
“It is key. You have to stay grounded,” the winger said. “As good as this feels, you can have a bad day in a few weeks.
“You have to make sure when things are going well you don’t get too high and when things are not going well you don’t get too low. You have to be steady, trust in your ability.
“Consistency is key for us, especially in a league where you can pick up points anywhere and where teams can take points off you. The most consistent teams win it in the end.”