David Prutton: There's a double-edged sword feeling regarding this Leeds star
By Harvey Byrne
Former midfielder David Prutton believes Pontus Jansson’s physicality and aggression is both a blessing and a curse for the current Leeds team.
The 26-year-old summer signing has helped shore up the Whites’ back line this season, starring in 32 Championship matches which has left them battling for a play-off spot with three matches left.
However, in those matches he has also picked up 13 yellow cards, while being handed another one in the FA Cup and Prutton has now likened the defender’s play to a “double-edged sword.”
“They could look back on this in 10 years’ time and think ‘we did what we needed to at that moment in time and we proved it to ourselves to people that we were watching. We got in the play-offs’. Pontus Jansson is now just one yellow card away from getting a three-game ban and in the Newcastle game he was everywhere,” wrote Prutton in his column for the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“He was clearing it off the line, he was blocking, he was having a good phyisical battle with Mitrovic. But I would be intrigued to see with his bookings how many he could look back at and say ‘that one and that one could have been avoided’. It’s a doubled-edged sword because when he came here everybody instantly loved him because he is physical, aggressive. He doesn’t take any prisoners and it feels like he doesn’t give a damn towards the other team.
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“He just does it for his team. But you have got to temper that with being able to play every single game that you possibly can. It’s one of those where would you get the same type of player without that edge? Probably not, and were Leeds lacking, not a hard man, but someone who was able to intimidate you? Yes they were and great Leeds teams were built on defenders that were horrible, and he fits into that mould.
“It’s tough, but when you are one booking away from a ban, it’s got to focus the mind. You have got to get on with it but with Pontus it could be the situation where he gets Leeds into the play-offs but then can’t play in the play-offs which would be a tough one, especially when Liam Cooper would have been out for a decent period of time. Pontus just has to put it out of his mind and he has got to play his normal game because his normal game helps Leeds win matches.”
When Jansson joined Leeds he was fairly unknown in England, but his displays saw the Yorkshire giants tie him up to a permanent deal as early as February in an attempt to secure his future.
However, in recent weeks he has also been linked with a move to the Premier League with Southampton, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea among the reported suitors.
Leeds will now be hoping Jansson will be lining up for their side in the English top-flight with the prestigious club spending 13-years out of the Premier League.
They will face Burton at the Pirelli Stadium next on Saturday before clashes against Norwich and then relegation battling Wigan on the final day.
In other Leeds news, the Whites supporters have urged Garry Monk to axe the club’s mainstay on Saturday.