Congratulations are in order for Josh Laurent, who you’ve voted as your player of the season! He’s now completed the double, having taken the club’s POTS award too.
It’s very well deserved after a hugely impressive first season at Reading. Laurent’s made the step up from League One with ease - so much so that you’d be forgiven for forgetting this is his first regular taste of Championship action.
If anyone embodies this team at its best, it’s Laurent. Always dependable, always hard working and always playing with a smile on his face, he’s essentially undroppable and an absolute delight to have in the side.
In that defensive midfield role, Laurent combines tireless running with intelligent reading of the game and composure in possession. He may not pop up with too many moments in the final third, having scored three times and assisted for three goals, but his importance in protecting the back four, spotting danger and nullifying it, and keeping the ball moving in the middle can’t be understated.
Having someone like Laurent makes it so much easier for others around him to do their job. The centre backs get that bit more protection, the full backs have someone to cover for them if they push up the pitch, and forward players can operate with more freedom - safe in the knowledge that Laurent has their back.
My favourite Josh Laurent moment of the campaign has to be his goal against Bournemouth at the Mad Stad. It’s much scrappier than his effort from range at Blackburn Rovers and his powerful header at Norwich City, but the determination to convert that chance sums Laurent up.
It’s fitting that, at the end of a season in which Laurent missed just one league match, he was handed the captain’s armband for the game against Huddersfield Town. If Reading manage to keep hold of him in the long term, perhaps we’ll one day see him lead the side on a permanent basis.
Want to read more about Laurent’s debut campaign? Charlie Holmes wrote about Laurent’s importance to Reading in the opening weeks of the season, while Harry Chafer was gushing in his praise for Laurent’s partnership with Andy Rinomhota in the midfield. A couple of months ago, Danyal Khan provided Dave Edwards’ thoughts on Laurent:
“He’s been brilliant. I always knew that Josh would suit Reading really well with the way he played, because Reading have always had very good technical players. And it’s great when you are bringing technical players in who are really nice on the ball, and who can create.”
“I expect him to hopefully play in the Premier League with Reading in the near future, but if not Reading then I’m sure he will have plenty of admirers in the Premier League.”
The full POTS results
Even more impressive is that Laurent won pretty comfortably, despite there being a number of excellent options on the shortlist. In total, 41% of you chose Laurent as your first choice, with 21% going for Michael Morrison, 18% for Lucas Joao and 16% for Michael Olise.
The way we’ve put the full results together below though takes into account how you ranked each player on the six-man shortlist from first to sixth. A first-placed nomination was worth six points, a second-placed one was worth five points, and so on. From that, we got our overall score.
As you can see below, Laurent finished comfortably ahead with 471 points, but the next three were pretty close together. Morrison (409) edged that mini contest, with Joao (382) slightly ahead of Olise (372). Rounding out the shortlist were Tom Holmes (237) and Omar Richards (205).
To break those results down more, Morrison was the most popular second choice, while Olise and Joao were the most popular third and fourth choices respectively - ironic given that the overall scores put them the other way around.