Adam Rooney speaks modestly about his abilities as a player, claiming that his instinct for being in the right place at the right time compensates for areas where he lacks outstanding attributes.
His track record would validate the argument that he's being harsh on himself but, either way, 2020 has provided the real-life reminder that there are some things you just can't anticipate.
The 32-year-old striker completed his transfer to promotion-chasing Solihull Moors on the day that English football was basically shutting down and, with the National League (the old Vauxhall Conference) season over, he doesn't know when he'll make his debut.
Rooney got to meet team-mates for a couple of training sessions, and was added to the team WhatsApp group chat, but they will be his virtual colleagues for the foreseeable future.
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And there are layers to his limbo. His switch from the Class of '92-owned Salford to Solihull was to be followed by a relocation from Manchester to Birmingham with his wife Rachel and their kids Ezra (4) and Levi (18 months).
On Friday, March 13, the day of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the marquee addition was supposed to begin his next chapter in a home game with Harrogate.
"Late on the Thursday, I'd done the medical, the contracts and stuff," says Rooney. "There was some talk of the game maybe being in doubt, but I didn't think too much of it. I travelled down early to get some rest and view a property. At lunchtime, I got a call to say the game was off because three or four Harrogate players had symptoms."
He didn't realise that his campaign was ending there and then, his short-term mission to fire Solihull into the play-offs over before it had started.
But there's no violin being produced here. Rooney is firmly in the camp of those footballers who feel it is premature to start talking about playing games again.
He accepts he's one of the luckier ones, in the sense that he's got a contract until 2022, whereas there are friends with expiring deals wondering when the phone will ring again.
In a dog-eat-dog industry, the uncertainty in the lower reaches of the English ladder justifies the actions of any pro that looks after number one in their transfer dealings.
Two summers ago, Rooney's decision to leave Aberdeen and aid Salford's attempts to muscle their way into the Football League drew widespread condemnation and money-grabbing taunts.
He blocked it all out because there were other factors at play, and more important things on his mind, most significantly his elder brother Mark's battle with cancer.
The Dubliner's mindset on the current predicament is shaped by a similar mindset.
Mark, a former League of Ireland striker, is in remission but remains in the compromised category and requires checks every six months. Rooney's parents had to come home from Spain and isolate themselves from Mark when the crisis started.
Meanwhile, Rachel's mother passed away last year and her father, who is in his early eighties, is cocooned and finding this period challenging.
Every summer, the Rooneys' priority when the final ball is kicked is to hop on the first boat home but that won't be happening this time around, much as it pains them.
This is about life and death and they are not detached from the reality of what is going on around them with the British government's handling of the crisis fuelling the view.
"Ireland has done very well compared to here," he surmises. "Over here, you log in and check the news and hear about how many people have passed away. I think it was 500 the other day and people are actually saying, 'That's not a bad number.' That's crazy.
"People are worrying about football getting back but it's important that they get this thing under control.
"There's a lot of people struggling in bad situations; families who can't see each other, massive issues with loneliness. The thought of being desperate to get out and play football... I can understand people missing football, but we have to wait to get back to some sort of normality.
"At the minute, the main thing is making sure everyone is healthy.
"Realistically, we can't go and see the people we would like to see. Rachel's dad is missing his wife. All of the family are trying their best for him and everybody has FaceTime, everyone can see each other, so we're not in the worst situation. I'm keeping fit but, aside from that, football's in the back of the mind now."
Lockdown lends itself to nostalgic reflection, though. In the past fortnight, Rooney was tagged in a pair of tweets that brought back memories.
One was from Stoke, his first senior club, who marked his birthday by posting footage of his 2006 destruction of Brighton in the final game of that season.
A week after turning 18, he'd become the youngest hat-trick scorer in the club history. Rooney had tried and failed to find the footage on YouTube before, and was now able to show the family.
"All of this time on, it's one of the highlights of my career," he says. "My folks were there. I was flying home straight after, I think for my nanny's birthday. I remember the manager, Johan Boskamp, telling me to enjoy my summer because next season I was going to be one of the main strikers."
The other tweet was an 'on this day' from 2007, and another treble from the ginger-haired poacher in the first 15 minutes of an U-19 win over Bulgaria. He was on a hot streak in green at that point, averaging a goal per game.
Not bad seeing as he'd completed his Leaving Cert before going to England, unlike the majority of his peers.
Rooney had even applied for physiotherapy at UCD and put in for a football scholarship. Incredibly, he was knocked back after failing to win over the decision-maker in a trial match. Months later, Stoke were throwing him into first team action in the Championship.
That Irish age group included future internationals Anthony Stokes, Eddie Nolan, Keith Treacy and Alan Judge but the latter is the only one remaining on that scene. Rooney scanned through the team-sheet and noted those who had dropped out of the business completely.
His CV compares favourably with that crop, yet he encountered roundabouts before there was motorway.
Two weeks after his Brighton heroics, Peter Coates bought Stoke, Boskamp was cast aside and Tony Pulis came in. Experience was prioritised over potential. Rooney was bounced around the loan market before moving to Scotland and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
A prolific spell earned a Championship chance down south with Chris Hughton's Birmingham (he lived in Solihull while there) and he played and scored in Europe during a stop-start stay.
Shorter stints with Swindon and Oldham preceded the best decision of his career, a 2014 relocation to Aberdeen.
The Scottish air ignited another golden run of form. Rooney is convinced that lucky breaks can generate momentum when there's a change of scenery.
His first goal for Aberdeen came from a rebound and the goals racked up from there. In that maiden year, he was Scotland's top scorer, notching 28 in all competitions.
However, Irish recognition eluded him. On these pages, Eamonn Sweeney suggested that Rooney 'should change his name to Hamish Claymore and pretend he's a Scot who wants to declare.'
Laughing down the line, he passes no further comment when the line is recited to him.
There's an 'if only' strand to this tale. Martin O'Neill listed him on provisional squads, but he rarely made the final cut. When his Aberdeen clubmate Jonny Hayes was capped in March 2016, Rooney was sitting at home with an injury he had tried and failed to play through in order to prove his fitness.
Later that year, he was brought to Moldova for a World Cup qualifier, thinking this might be the day, but was an unused sub with the manager preferring to experiment with James McClean as a makeshift attacker.
For all the understandable disappointment, he's sanguine about it all.
"I think every forward in Ireland was out injured at the time," he quips. "Ah, it was always the dream. Around that time I was close. I thought I might get a chance. I was banging goals in, but there were lads playing at a level better than the league I was in. I could never question them being picked.
"As I'm getting older, I look back on things I've achieved in the game and I would think I've done alright for a player with my ability. Other lads would be stronger and quicker or technically better, but I've always been a goalscorer. I've had a positive mentality, and I work hard."
His character was called into question when Salford came calling.
In Scotland, in particular, they couldn't understand how a player that had registered 87 goals in 194 outings for their second best team was departing for the English non-league.
Chairmen down south hit out at Salford's largesse. Rooney opted against going near his phone for a few days. He'd actually fallen out of favour at Aberdeen and the Salford project appealed. And he had family to think of.
"You have to weigh everything up," he says. "My brother had health issues, I wanted to get back playing, I saw it as a great opportunity to go to a club on the up.
"People assume because you play football, you're going to be set for life. A lot of footballers have to go into some other kind of work when they finish playing and, after this pandemic, that's going to be moreso the case.
"Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant life. There's major perks. Basically, it's like you're a part-time worker sometimes. The latest you get home a lot of days is 3 or 4 o'clock, that's a great lifestyle when you're playing. But you have to be mentally strong.
"There's a lot of flak and there's horrible people on social media that just come on and abuse people. I don't let that get to me. You can't make decisions based on what people think.
"Transfers are part of the game. You can make moves because you want a change, but if you're not committed then you won't enjoy it. You have to buy into what that the clubs wants."
At Salford, he made a substantial contribution towards their successful promotion tilt. They've continued to strengthen and, in January, the Solihull option cropped up. Ultimately, they want to emulate Salford and seized on sudden availability.
Rooney worked with the assistant, Richard Beale, at Birmingham. With contract security and a knowledge of the area, it ticked the boxes for what he required at this stage of life. Family comes first. He'd already conceded that the Salford switch had ended his international prospects.
That said, there was a nice postscript.
O'Neill's assistant Roy Keane gave Gary Neville a positive recommendation when Salford's pursuit of Rooney came up at the Russian World Cup. He texted his thanks to Keane.
"Don't let me down," came the reply.
While the Corkman divided opinions in the Irish dressing-room, Rooney only has good things to say. There's previous, and it dates back to a Pizza Express in Manchester in 2007.
Keane was Sunderland manager. Rooney was on loan at Chesterfield.
"I went in to meet a mate who was running late," he says. "I looked over and saw Roy Keane was sitting there with his family. I'd never spoken to him before, and didn't think he'd know me so I sat in the window, put the head down and ordered our food.
"As he was leaving, Roy came across to me and said, 'You're doing well on loan, keep it up, keep working hard.' I was buzzing, and rang my dad to tell him.
"My mate came in and he couldn't believe it had happened. When I went to get my bill, they told me the gentleman who had left earlier had taken care of it. He comes across as stern, but that was a brilliant gesture towards a young lad."
Now that he's a streetwise pro, Rooney has long since learned that you should always trust your own judgment.