Leeds United pair in Championship '˜team of the season'

PONTUS JANSSON received a shot in the arm after being dropped from Leeds United's side on Saturday as he and striker Chris Wood were named in the Championship's team of the year.

Monday, 20th March 2017, 4:31 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:01 am
Chris Wood

Jansson and Wood both featured in an official line-up published by the EFL yesterday having figured heavily in United’s on-going bid for promotion to the Premier League.

Wood’s 27 goals – the highest tally in England’s top four divisions – earned him a spot up front while Jansson was selected alongside Brighton’s Lewis Dunk at centre-back, beating team-mate and partner Kyle Bartley to a place.

Jansson and Bartley have been Leeds’ established defensive pair for most of the season but United head coach Garry Monk took the unexpected and unexplained decision to drop Jansson to the bench for Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Brighton at Elland Road.

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Pontus Jansson

The Sweden international, who is now abroad with his national side ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Belarus this weekend, was replaced by Liam Cooper for the meeting with Chris Hughton’s second-placed side.

Monk said Jansson’s omission had been a case of doing “what’s best for the team and the principles we work to” but did not detail the exact reasons for leaving him out.

Jansson later moved to defuse any suggestion of a fall-out by tweeting: “Really proud to see our performance and we showed that we really are a strong team together. Now off to national team and qualify.”

New Zealand forward Wood is also absent on international duty this week having taken his tally of goals for the season to 27 with both efforts against Brighton.

Pontus Jansson

The striker’s prolific finishing has all but confirmed Leeds’ involvement in the play-offs and left him three goals short of becoming only the sixth United player to score 30 in one season.

Wood is currently the Championship’s leading scorer, ahead of Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle who also made the team of the year yesterday. Brighton were the most heavily-represented club with four of their players included.

Championship team of the year: David Stockdale (Brighton), Tommy Smith (Huddersfield Town), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Pontus Jansson (Leeds United), Scott Malone (Fulham), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town), Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United), Anthony Knockaert (Brighton), Chris Wood (Leeds United), Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United), Glenn Murray (Brighton).