EL-Hadji Diouf may be public enemy number one to opposing fans but the Senegalese striker is nothing like his 'bad boy' public image.

So says Wanderers boss Gary Megson, who has become one of Diouf's biggest supporters since his arrival at the Reebok Stadium.

And despite his country's problems at the African Cup of Nations, Diouf was in regular contact with the Bolton manager.

"He was really interested in what was going on," revealed Megson to the Manchester Evening News. "Most of the time it had nothing to do with him, but he still wanted to know.

"Sometimes a reputation and how a person is viewed is nothing like the truth," added Megson.

"It's amazing the stick 'Dioufy' gets from visiting fans and on away grounds. I guess it stems back to the spitting incident at Celtic when he was with Liverpool.

"But he is a terrific person. He has his own foundation, he helps his family back in Senegal and does a lot of charity work that goes unnoticed. And he wants to keep it that way.

"His personality is larger than life, he's terrific in the dressing room and around the place, and is so enthusiastic," added Megson.

"The way he goes about his work at times, you think 'Crikey, he's a nightmare to deal with'. But he's fantastic to have around the club and, on top of that, he's a really talented individual."

Since Diouf left for Africa, Wanderers have sold Nicolas Anelka but Megson says: "He is a great friend of Nic but he was here before Nic arrived and knowing Dioufy he'll just get on with it."