Leeds United centre-half Pontus Jansson has gone from strength to strength under manager Marcelo Bielsa in the Championship campaign of 2018/19.
The 28-year-old Swedish international originally moved to Elland road from Torino on a loan spell back in the 2016/17 campaign but with 36 appearances to his name, and a return of three goals, that was made permanent in the summer of 2017 for a reported £3.5million and he’s proven to be an absolute snip at that price.
83 appearances later (80 starts) and six more goals since the permanent deal was done has more than left him established in the hearts of the Elland Road faithful.
His celebrations, his passion, his after game interviews, and being the only player to ignore Bielsa’s instruction to let Aston Villa score last weekend are just four things listed from his memorable standout moments, especially this season.
In an in-depth interview with 442 Jansson admitted he could’ve left over the summer, but with last years issues well known, he felt he would depart having left the wrong impression.
“I said it from day one. At the beginning I had it as a motivation for myself, and for the team and the fans, for someone to come here and say, ‘Alright, we want to go back to the Premier League’. Because how I saw it when I came was, we were at the bottom of the table and people never talked about the Premier League in that way. I came here directly in my first interview, on my first day, to say I really wanted to go to the Premier League with Leeds. I remember people laughed at me, but I had it as a motivation for myself and the people around me.”
“I think as a player you have to respect and know your club, know the history, know how big the club is. I really know what this club means to people, so for me it’s a responsibility; you have to do something for the club. So last year, when it didn’t go that good, as a person I also felt bad. I felt like I’d left so many people disappointed. And that’s not what you want to be. I had an offer to leave in the summer, and I said to my agent, ‘I don’t want to leave Leeds in this way’. I didn’t want people to remember me for negative things, thinking, ‘This guy didn’t care about the club’. I really wanted to come back this season and give people a good picture of me as a person, to see that I respect the club. This club, I’ve said it before, it changed my life to something good. After a bad year in Italy with injuries and a lot of things happening off the pitch, I came here. The love I got from the club is just unbelievable, and I will never forget it. So it was my responsibility to really come here and do something good this year.”
The full interview is definitely worth a read, and I can only imagine his stock will rise even further amongst the fanbase as they take in his full words and his actions and performances this season have more than shown that he made the right decision to stay, and we all hope he achieves his aim of playing Premier League football next season as we all deserve it.