Crystal Palace man James McArthur enjoys the quiet life as long as he's making big noise on the pitch

Driving force: James McArthur: REUTERS
Driving force: James McArthur: REUTERS

Relatively little fuss is made about James McArthur — and that is just the way the Crystal Palace midfielder likes it.

Whether that means rarely capturing the headlines or being able to walk down the street unnoticed, the 30-year-old Scotland international is happy keeping a low profile.

But while much of the focus at Palace is on Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and others, McArthur is a central figure for the south Londoners under Roy Hodgson.

Much is made of how the Eagles struggle without flying winger Zaha, but last season they failed to win in the Premier League when McArthur did not play. Dig a little deeper and the statistics highlight that since he moved to Palace from Wigan for £7million in 2014, they have won only four League games without him in the team.

His industrious running and the job he does from right midfield mean he is vital to the way Palace play, yet he is happy to put the good of the team before personal recognition.

Ahead of Monday's League match at Bournemouth, McArthur said: “As long as my team-mates, the fans and the manager know the job I do for the team, that is what is important to me.

“I like to be the guy who can walk down the street and no-one really says anything to, just kind of a family man who is not really bothered by spotlight or people running up to me saying, ‘You are amazing’ or anything like that. I like to be here and do my job. I know my team-mates recognise that.

“If fans from other teams or pundits or anything do not give me recognition, it does not bother me one bit. All I care about is winning and trying to help the team.”

Staying put: McArthur wants to end his career at Palace (Action Images via Reuters)
Staying put: McArthur wants to end his career at Palace (Action Images via Reuters)

McArthur has made 136 appearances for Palace and although he was linked with a move back to Scotland in the summer, he has just signed a new contract that will keep him at Selhurst Park until 2021.

“I have loved my time here,” he added. “In football, things change so quickly for players, but for the last four years I have been so happy here and really enjoyed my football.

“I have loved every minute under this manager, to be honest. Under the previous manager [Frank De Boer] I did not play as much and I think I have had a resurgence with [Hodgson].

“It is a club I want to finish my career at, if I’m lucky enough to. Through the years of progressing, we feel we are making a lot of strides to becoming an established Premier League club. It is something I want to be a part of and remembered for.”

Palace have made an inconsistent start to the season but a win on Monday would lift them into the top 10 and above Manchester United.

“It has been an okay start, but win tonight and it will be a good start,” said McArthur, who was speaking on a visit to St Chad’s Primary School in South Norwood, where the Palace for Life Foundation donated sports equipment as part of the Premier League’s Primary Stars programme.

“The Foundation is excellent and us players want to help out,” he said. “Knowing the kids appreciate you coming down as well, it gives you such a nice feeling.”

On this occasion, McArthur is more than happy to be recognised.