By Alex Stevens
On-loan Swansea defender Kyle Bartley has been Leeds’ player of the season so far, according to a reliable journalist who covers all the club’s matches.
Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent Phil Hay took to his personal Twitter account on Saturday evening to hail the stand-in captain following his matchwinning display in the 1-0 win over Brentford.
Leeds were well below par against Dean Smith’s side but Bartley ensured his side secured all three points with an emphatic late header direct from a corner.
It was the 25-year-old’s third league goal of the season and places him second in the club’s scoring charts behind only leading man Chris Wood, who has scored 11 in the league and 14 in all competitions.
Bartley has also been a mainstay of the defence and struck up an increasingly impressive centre-back partnership with Pontus Jansson.
Jansson has been widely lauded by Leeds followers for his barnstorming displays but Hay believes Bartley has been even more important to the team’s against-the-odds rise to fourth in the table.
“Can’t see beyond Bartley for player of the season so far,” wrote Hay on Twitter. “String of top performances, crucial goals and a great stint as captain.”
Can’t see beyond Bartley for player of the season so far. String of top performances, crucial goals and a great stint as captain. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 17, 2016
The Arsenal academy product is on a season-long loan from Swansea after signing a new contract with the Premier League club earlier this summer.
Leeds’ win over Dean Smith’s side was their seventh in nine league matches and takes their points haul for the season to 38 from 22 Championship matches.
The Yorkshire club are now just seven points behind Brighton in the second automatic promotion spot, although the Sussex club have a game in hand.