Ever since Garry Monk’s arrival at Elland Road back in the summer, there has been a constant upbeat attitude, and Monk’s excellent transfer business has been the foundation for our success so far this campaign.
Kyle Bartley is possibly the best bit of transfer business Monk has done, Pontus Jansson is the man who takes the headlines often, and while Jansson is more than deserving of his cult-hero status, it often overshadows Bartley’s contribution to the team.
It’s not often you see a loan player come into a club and take on the captain’s armband after just 10 games, but’s that exactly what Bartley did after club captain Liam Bridcutt was side-lined for three months after an ankle injury sustained against Blackburn.
Bartley proved to be a perfect replacement for Bridcutt, considering Bartley was already keeping vice-captain Liam Cooper out of the team. Bartley’s first three games went perfectly, winning all three and keeping clean sheets in every game.
Bartley’s reign as captain went on and Leeds found themselves in a very healthy position, up in the play-offs, largely thanks to Leeds’s excellent defensive record, even with Bridcutt back, Bartley continues to lead from the back.
Not only is Bartley a dominant figure in defence, but he is also very handy going forward, contributing four goals and two assists.
To see Leeds United do so well defensively has been a rarity in recent memory, with Leeds’s most successful defensive partnership previously, being that of Paddy Kisnorbo and Richard Naylor back in 2010.
But fast-forward six years and Leeds United have finally found a partnership the fans can rely on. Bartley and Jansson are two towering men who both complement each other.
Jansson is a more relaxed, silky centre-half who enjoys the occasional take-on, whereas Bartley is more reminiscent to that of Leeds legend Jack Charlton (without the little black book of course) in the sense that Bartley is a more traditional centre-half.
With 15 games left in the championship season, and Leeds sitting in fifth, fans and everyone associated with the club will be hoping they can finally end their 13-year exile from the Premiership.
Bartley’s influence at Leeds United has been tremendous, he’s what Leeds have looked for in a defender for years and come the end of the season, no matter the outcome, hopefully Leeds can strike a permanent deal.
Reporter- Dec Campbell