It was hard to imagine the campaign behind Kevin Sinfield could get any better… but it just has.
A star-studded line-up of sporting figures have pledged their vote to Sir Kev ahead of this weekend’s Sports Personality of the Year awards, however two of the most iconic sporting figures of this century have now ensured the legendary Rugby League player has the support of the entire nation.
Jonny Wilkinson, who famously kicked the drop goal to earn the England rugby union World cup in 2003 and former English and Manchester United footballer Paul Scholes have joined the Sinfield bandwagon in this incredible video on the eve of Kev’s big night in Belfast.
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Wilkinson, England rugby union’s current all-time leading points scorer, landed the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2003 after securing England’s first ever World Cup win.
The 36-year-old is a huge admirer of Sinfield, who could set another record as the first-ever Rugby League player to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
“He’s the ultimate professional, the ultimate leader and someone I would sum up as saying he owns his performance,” said Wilkinson.
“I think if anyone ever asked you the secret to success in sport at the highest level I think they’d use Kevin as an example. It isn’t necessarily running 100m and scoring tries or kicking a ball from 50 yards it’s just day in day out excellence.
“I think that’s what people have got used to over the last 20 years – the fact that he plays the way he does is just Kevin Sinfield.
“He’s shown that it’s great to win things but when I remember him I don’t remember all the trophies straight away it’s the respect he’s shown and earned, it’s what he’s done for the sport.
“He’s the kind of guy you want sat next to you in the changing room. He makes the afternoon ahead seem a whole lot better and makes you feel there’s a reason to go out there and show what I can do because there’s a guy sat next to me that is going to bring it every time.
“To go out there in your own way and to do it quietly and lead in a respectful manner with great values over and over again. Not only is that a great sportsman, that’s a great person and for me that’s what this award represents.”
Meanwhile, Scholes, a treble winner in his own right as a player in 1999, heaped praise on Sinfield’s accomplishments in Rugby League and the way he led Leeds Rhinos to their maiden clean sweep this year.
“He’s such a dedicated professional athlete. He clearly looks after himself and to have played 18 years you have to be dedicated to your sport and he has definitely been that,” he said.
“He leads by example which is great especially when you have young players come in to the team. It was a dream year for him to finish with after a brilliant 18-year career.
“I think if you had asked him to write a script for his last year, winning the treble in the way he did, then that would have been on there and leading by example in the way he did was great.
“All his achievements over the years have been unbelievable: leading point scorer, leading goal scorer, England’s leading point scorer and then to finish his final year being leading point scorer again and win the three major trophies was an unbelievable achievement.
“I can’t think of any one player who deserves it more than him for what he’s done in his last year.”
Rugby League fans have been urged to unite and support Sinfield by voting for him to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015.
Voting for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 on Sunday December 20 will be available over the phone (numbers will be provided on the night of the awards ceremony) and via the BBC website.
In order to vote online, you will need to be registered with the BBC sign in system, BBC iD, by visiting https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/id/register
If you have already registered with BBC iD, then you only need to sign in on the day of the awards to cast your vote.