It’s been a busy start to the New Year for Leeds United:
January 2: Leeds 3 - Rotherham 0.
January 9: Cambridge 1 - Leeds 2.
January 13: Leeds 1 - Derby County 0.
Exactly the sort of busy we like.
With three wins in a row, Leeds find themselves preparing for a fourth round FA Cup tie against Wimbledon or Sutton at the end of January and able to enjoy the rest of the weekend’s fixtures sitting in third place in the Championship table. It’s a good time to be all Leeds.
That said, it’s been busy, and we never announced the winners of our December Player of the Month awards here at Through It All Together. Though there were several great candidates again this month, the same man won both awards, and you’ve probably been tipped off as to who it is by the title and the photo above.
The December TIAT and Reader’s Choice Player of the Month awards go to stand-out pony-tailed/man-bunned defender Luke Ayling.
The Reader’s Choice vote was close....
Let's try this again. A little behind the ball, but who was your December Player of the Month at #LUFC? We'll run this through the weekend.— Thru It All Together (@ThruItAllLUFC) January 6, 2017
And the staff vote was close too, with Pontus Jansson coming in second and Kemar Roofe and Souleymane Doukara picking up votes as well. A few of our staff members wrote up a quick rationale for their not-so-secret ballot votes, and we’ll leave some of those here....
Jack Dudley: The player of the month for Leeds United for December is a tough decision to make. The inevitable options are in there; Bartley, Jansson, Wood, etc.. However, I'm going to go for Luke Ayling. The majority of the squad were rather faultless for much of December, but Ayling just seems to be improving every single game. A solid defensive option and has done well to shrug off early criticism. He's made the right-back his own; well played, Luke.
Johnny Wakefield: What can’t you say about Luke Ayling? He has been a rock-solid defender, filling a hole we didn’t realize we had at right back. He contributes on the attack in seemingly every game. And his hair... oh, his hair. (It’s made him my daughter’s favorite player, so that’s something.) Seriously though, his play through the month of December, and since September, really, has been incredibly vital to a team built on defence, and in a month where you could throw a dart at the starting XI and get a POTM winner, I think Ayling stands just a hair above the rest.
James Mahoney: My nomination for POTM for December is Pontus Jansson. We all love Pontus Jansson for a number of reasons. However, the foundation of our love stems from his defensive ability and throughout December this was on show in abundance. Leeds had a fantastic December and Jansson was the catalyst and bench mark in every result throughout the month. His desire to see Leeds succeed was as apparent than when he saved a goal against our playoff rival Reading. For all the above and so many other reasons Pontus Jansson deserves the TIAT POTM award. MOT.
Anatoliy Ivantchouk: For POTM, it can be hard to pick one standout performer in a month that was filled with some spectacular team outings. But it would be hard not to select Pontus "Magic Hat" Jansson when he has been so dominant on both ends of the pitch. His heading ability changes games, not to mention his defensive pedigree in the most dangerous moments. He is the coal room that is powering this Leeds team through the critical winter months. One can only hope his form continues and we can all throw our magic hats in the air when we seal up promotion. MOT.
Joshua Gilbert: My POTM for December is Soulemayne Doukara. When Wood was out injured, Doukara got placed into the team and has earned his spot in the starting XI as well. His versatility can see him play on the wings or up top, and when he works hard he’s a force to be reckoned with. He's my POTM for December by far.
Ben Mallis: Kemar Roofe gets my vote (and got the vote of LUFC...). December was the month that Roofe came of age in an Leeds United uniform. In addition to scoring his first goals for the club, Roofe was a driving force through the middle as United's promotion push gained momentum. His performance against Preston was one of the best seen in 2016.
Congratulations to @roofe39, who was presented with the Louis Erard Player of the Month award before Monday's game against Rotherham pic.twitter.com/AYttRTsxlA— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 4, 2017
So while Kemar Roofe was the winner for Leeds United and got a fancy watch, Luke Ayling won December for us here at Through It All Together and got... some fancy jpgs. Congrats Luke!
Think we got it wrong? Or right? Let us know in the comments below. Looking forward to naming the whole squad the POTM in an undefeated January..... not a jinx I swear. MOT.