February was a mixed bag for Reading FC, with just one win in five and ending the month with back-to-back defeats against promotion rivals.
In times like these it's perhaps more helpful to focus not on the best player, but who hasn't been the worst. Tyler Blackett has win The Tilehurst End's vote for POTM and there's been a few players in the team who have upped their contributions despite a poor run of form for the Royals, with Blackett and Danny Williams both repaying Jaap Stam's choice in their selection, but my pick for the February Player of the Month goes to none other than Roy Beerens.
"Do you mean the Roy Beerens who has only started three of the five games this month?"
Hang on, let me explain.
Yes, he may be a slightly unorthodox choice. Being one of eleven new faces coming to the club in the summer (yes, Sandro Wieser is included in that count), it would have been easy for him to go by unnoticed and, truth be told, he hasn't been prolific this season. But, in a month where no Reading player has really held their head high for the team, it's perhaps right to shine the light on a player who is attempting to make his contributions known alongside fellow winger, the usually-formidable Garath McCleary.
Let's start with the most recent match, a 3-0 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion. McCleary was having a rare off-day, with the home side dominating the game in an attacking sense. But Beerens came out as a rare threat to the Seagulls, with 81% pass completion as he made 38 passes across the 90 minutes. This is compared to just 19 from Garath McCleary, at a lower percentage of 57%. And while the Jamaican's impact was mainly seen on the right hand side of the pitch, Beerens spread himself around, showing off a fantastic work rate which is crucial to the way Stam's team play.
And then there's the winner in the only victory Reading managed during the month of February, 3-2 against Brentford. It wasn't a shot that any player could miss (even Wieser would have had decent odds of putting it in the back of the net, wherever he was) but it is more important that Beerens was in the right place at the right time to ensure the late goal went in and the Royals recorded the win. Having been more of an observer than usual in recent weeks for the team (with two absences in as many months) it is the things he does in those smaller amounts of time that make the bigger impact. His goal against Brentford was his seventh of the season but, crucially, his fifth winner.
As I said before, Beerens hasn't been a prolific player for the club this campaign, and his selection this month probably owes more to the fact that the usual candidates for a Player of the Month award (Ali Al Habsi, Liam Kelly, John Swift and McCleary) haven't had the same impact as in previous months of the 2016/17 season. But that still shouldn't overshadow the contributions he has made this month, and the promise he has shown to be a solid future player for the team. He may not have the pace of Jimmy Kébé or the consistent attacking edge of McCleary, but the Dutchman does pull through when it matters, and that is certainly something Reading will need with several more tough games to come in the remainder of the season.