Congratulations to Femi Azeez, who’s won our player of the month award for December, as voted by our readers. He took a whopping 74% of the vote, way ahead of Harvey Knibbs (12%), Lewis Wing (8%), Sam Smith (3%) and Tom Holmes (2%).
It’s Azeez’ second consecutive POTM win, having taken the November award too. He joins previous winners Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan (August), Caylan Vickers (September) and Nelson Abbey (October).
Over the course of November and December, Azeez played 13 times in all competitions, registering five goals and four assists. That constitutes a remarkable turnaround for a player who was largely written off not all that long ago; earlier on in the season he struggled badly for confidence and sharpness in the final third, but he’s been the opposite in the last couple of months.
How’s he done it? Mental resilience on his own part has certainly helped an awful lot, with Azeez having to keep plugging away until things finally clicked for him, with his first goal of the season coming in late November against Carlisle United. Ruben Selles also deserves some credit for sticking with Azeez, while a switch to 4-1-4-1 (allowing Azeez more space to work in out wide) has also helped his all-round game.
Reading now have the tricky task on their hands of keeping Azeez at the club. There’ll surely be interest in him from higher up the pyramid, with his contract set to expire in the summer and the Royals in no financial position at all to offer a competitive new deal. He could be sold this month or depart on July 1, but a stay beyond that point surely rests on a takeover coming sooner rather than later.
TTE 2023/24 POTM winners
August: Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan
September: Caylan Vickers
October: Nelson Abbey
November: Femi Azeez
December: Femi Azeez