Leeds United: Jansson keen for a long career in English football

Pontus Jansson.
Pontus Jansson.
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Pontus Jansson revealed that he was ready to commit himself to a long career in English football after another aggressive defensive performance helped Leeds United close out a 2-1 victory over Barnsley.

The popular centre-back raised hopes of a permanent move to Elland Road by saying he was “thinking I have to stay in England” following a hugely impressive first month with Leeds.

Jansson made his league debut at the start of September and his uncompromising defending helped Leeds to reach the season’s second international break in 11th place in the Championship following Saturday’s defeat of Barnsley.

Leeds signed Jansson on a season-long loan from Torino in August, negotiating a deal which gave them the right to make the transfer permanent once the defender made 20 appearances.

Reports in Sweden say United will have to pay around £3.5m to activate that clause but Jansson’s dominant influence has quickly established him as a crucial member of United’s team and a crowd favourite.

“I like English football very much,” Jansson said. “There are a lot of duels and a lot of tough games. This is my type of game. The two years I had in Italy were very important. They were really good because they helped me learn tactics and stuff like that. But now I’m thinking I have to stay in England.

“I’m really happy that the fans like me but I don’t know why. I’m just playing my type of game. I’ve not played like this to make them like me. It’s just how I am. But I’m happy that they like me.”

Saturday’s derby at Elland Road rounded off a seven-game spell in which Leeds found form under head coach Garry Monk. The United boss was under severe pressure in early September but five wins from six matches, ending in a victory over Paul Heckingbottom’s Barnsley, kept the club in the top half of the table.

Goals from Kyle Bartley and Pablo Hernandez gave Leeds a 2-0 advantage before a late Charlie Taylor own goal prompted pressure from Barnsley.

Jansson, who flew to Sweden to link up with the Swedish national side over the weekend, said: “We have good momentum so maybe it would have been better not to have the (international) break. Maybe we would be better to keep going but we have two weeks now with happy faces rather than bad ones. A great month for me would be seven victories in seven games. But we got five and in the other two we could also have won. We deserved more than we got against Huddersfield and Bristol (City).

“It helps build momentum and I believe we can beat every team in this league, if we have the right mentality. Five wins in seven games is good but next month we have to win every game. That has to be the goal. I’m not here to just play games. I am here to take Leeds into the play-offs and the Premier League. That is my reason for being here. That is what we are searching for.”