Player of the Season: Editorial team views

Peace out, bruv; Madejski'll be happy with any one of the POTS contenders. - Warren Little

The Tilehurst End editorial team come together to put forward who each person thinks should be voted the Reading FC Player of the Season.

Before Academy product Jordan Obita claimed the Player of the Season award before the Burnley game, The Tilehurst End editorial team put forward their own individual thoughts about who should win the vote, with their reasons and their chosen player's best game this season.

Without further ado, let's see what they said...

Team member: Wimby, Editor.

Who?

Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Why?

He's a big f'ing Russian do I need any other reason?... OK, fine!

I'll openly state that as the season began I was off the Pog bandwagon. He seemed to have no future at the club and what games he did feature in such as the 6-0 defeat at Peterborough he looked totally uninterested and ineffective.

However, when it became clear he'd be in Berkshire until at least Christmas, his performances began to rapidly improve and while he may not have been hitting the goal trail all that often, Pog was often one of the few players you could say gave it absolutely everything they had, even on a day when the team in general looked pathetic.

He's not the best in the air, not the quickest, hasn't got many tricks and won't rifle them in from 30 yards but what the Russian does provide is effort, enthusiasm and a good finish when presented with the chance. I mentioned it on the podcast but he averages just 1.8 shots per game this season yet still has 13 goals which is a good ratio when you consider that while Ross McCormack has 28 goals, he averages 3 shots per game.

People have raved about Obita's consistency but for me Pog has shown that level of consistency over a longer period doing a tougher job. When you consider that he's actually won us points as well with his goals, it just gives him a slight edge for me over the young full-back/winger.

Best game?

Derby 1-3 Reading

Pog came into the game without a goal in his last 16 games. In fact he'd earned two red cards since his last goal, including one in his previous game to this, a 0-0 with Brighton in September.

Still, Nigel Adkins showed his faith in the Russian and it was rewarded with two goals, the first a scramble home from short range but the second an excellent side foot through a crowd to seal a win for the Royals.


Team member: Jonny, Deputy Editor.

Who?

Danny Williams.

Why?

When the Royals signed three players with international experience in the summer, most eyes were drawn towards the former England left-back Wayne Bridge, and the enigmatic Dutchman Royston Drenthe. But there's little doubting the most successful of Reading's new recruits - the striking blonde hair might naturally draw your attention, but his energy, pace and sheer hustle can't help but make you stand up and watch.

Jem Karacan's cruel injury at the start of the season helped the American international break into the side, although nearly every central midfielder in the squad has spent some time in the physio room - Williams included. Still, for one player to be named Man Of The Match for three matches in a row (QPR, Sheff Wed, Millwall in February) takes some doing. And for anyone to beat a hat-trick-grabbing Adam Le Fondre for MOTM during our astounding 7-1 mauling of Bolton must take some performance too. That player was Danny Williams. The first name on my midfield teamsheet, and many others' too, one can only imagine how this season would have panned out had he and Karacan nailed down their berths for 46 matches.

Best game?

As mentioned, he grabbed the MOTM gong ahead of treble-scoring Le Fondre against Bolton, but the match that most impressed me was the Millwall away game. Popping up with the final goal with a charging run from midfield in the mould of our last proper box-to-boxer, Steve Sidwell, the American commanded the game both in attack and defence. Combining the energy of Karacan/Harper, and that attacking prowess of Sidwell, it was the complete game in the middle of just about Reading's best run of form this season.


Team member: Marc, Assistant Editor.

Who?

Chris Gunter

Why?

I consider Chris the favourite or the official POTS vote. He's started 43 games, yet rarely gets mentioned and is generally unassuming for a modern footballer. He doesn't tweet often, isn't the first to the fans at the end of the game, and rarely contributes to goals. That said, he still gets involved (although, really, he doesn't tweet often).

What you find in Chris Gunter this season is the single consistent force of our outfield ensemble. A great athlete, capable of bursting forward and making last-ditch tackles, the Welsh first-choice international is still 24 and has great experience. I'm voting him for my POTS because we really would be worse off without his stability and constant strong performances, he rarely makes individual errors and has improved vastly since a rocky debut season in the Premiership.

These factors follow the Chris Armstrong rule of dependable, and likeable, full-backs that claim the POTS award, following a superbly reliable campaign where no attacking players have entirely thrust themselves into the limelight, Chris is my Player of the Season.

Best game?

Yeovil at home, when he was made captain; he showed his trustworthiness and potential as a leader.


Team member: Simeon, Assistant Editor.

Who?

Garath McCleary.

Why?

In a season where the Royals have seriously failed to create chances, Garath McCleary stands out for doing just that. Easily outperforming the likes of Robson-Kanu, McAnuff and Drenthe, all quality players, McCleary is my player of the season because he has been one of our most potent attacking threats.

Whereas fellow wingers Robson-Kanu, McAnuff and Drenthe have managed only 8 goals and 5 assists between them this season, Garath McCleary has racked up the highest number of assists from the entire Royals squad (12, more than double the next best contributor - the Pog with 5), and scored 4 times - joint third behind the front pairing of Le Fondre and Pogrebnyak.

Best game?

As far as individual moments go, those two wonder-goals against QPR certainly stand out in the memory - both long range screamers representative of how McCleary can ignite a game with a moment of pure, gorgeous quality. But for me, his real pièce de résistance was in October's 4-1 demolition of Doncaster Rovers - coming up with 3 assists and a goal in a performance that shows McCleary at his best, and why he is deserving of the accolade of player of the season.


Team member: Hoops, Assistant Editor.

Who?

Jordan Obita.

Why?

This time last year, Obita was barely known to any Reading fans. Nowadays, he's one of the first names on the team sheet—for good reason!

Since breaking into the side at the beginning of the season, young Jordan Obita has played left wing, left back, central midfield and in the hole; and his ability to succeed in each of those roles makes him a superb candidate for Player of the Season.

Perhaps most impressive is his ability to seamlessly switch between #BerkshireNeymar and #BerkshireCarlos without a hiccup. He'll defend diligently and overlap when the oppotunity arises, or he'll be the man further forward, accelerating quickly before putting a teasing ball in. He plays like a man with far more experience, and is now our most impressive and consistent set-piece taker, a role that looked unfillable once Ian Harte and Nicky Shorey had departed in the summer.

He's barely put a foot wrong this season, and for a player as young as him to be in the team ahead of the likes of Royston Drenthe and Hal Robson-Kanu on merit, I think that's a clear indication of how much Adkins trusts and rates him. Surely the worthy winner of Player of the Season?

Best game?

Difficult, considering he's barely had a below average game, but scoring the winner against Nottingham Forest, away from home and back in his favoured left midfield role, Obita looked the part.

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