Overview of Player:
Name: Pontus Jansson
Club: Leeds United
World Cup Influence: 5/10
Overview of Nation:
Sweden defied the odds and achieved qualification to the World Cup via the Playoffs where they were drawn against European Giants, Italy. After a 1-0 win at the Friends Arena, Sweden headed to the San Siro only needing a draw, breaking Italians hearts as the realisation that Italy would not be in Russia. Sweden currently sit at 24th in the FIFA World Rankings.
Performance of Player in Qualification:
Since 2012, Pontus Jansson has only made 14 appearances for the national side, but step away from that and you’ll see how key he’s been for Leeds United. Since signing for them in August 2016, he’s become somewhat of a cult hero around the terraces of Elland Road. In the 2 seasons he’s been with them, he’s managed to score 6 goals in 76 appearances.
Why he’s one to watch:
He’s one of my favourite footballers and as a Leeds fan, I want to see him make that step up onto the biggest stage possible. It’s not certain that he’ll even be a starter for Sweden at the World Cup. He has the right qualities to be a formidable defender on the international stage, but now’s the time to make that step up. Sweden have some good young players coming through and at 27, he really does need a good World Cup campaign and show everyone exactly what he can do which is why I think this could be his last chance internationally, that’s why he’s my one to watch.
Pontus Jansson plays in the heart of the Leeds defence. He’s a defender who takes no nonsense but he’s also well known to back down when the going gets tough, I’ll explain this in a few moments. Being 6’5″ means you should be pretty good in the air and that’s a huge tick for Pontus. Another thing that works for him is his tough tackling, however, he’s known to pick up a fair few cards over the course of the campaign which frustrates fans. The sad thing is, he’s only made to look good if he has a solid partner next to him, in the 2016/2017 season, he lined up alongside Kyle Bartley and formed a pretty special partnership but last season, he lined up next to Liam Cooper who, isn’t quite in the same league as a certain Kyle Bartley. This showed though as Pontus seemed to lack the things we’d seen the previous year.
Now, what I mentioned about the going gets tough is that Pontus has a hardman image on the pitch, but he goes down far too easily for a center half. He’s been known to be ‘injured’ frequently and it’s made many Leeds fans disgruntled but if he can go back to his form of 2016/2017, he’ll be sure to be a star.
Video of Player
Jansson in action last season.
Football Manager stats:
Looking at his stats, you can see that his determination is very high alongside bravery and aggression. The other stats you’d like to see as a defender are heading, tacking, jumping reach and concentration. All the stats you need for a defender are above 12, which is why he’s my one to watch. I am confident that we’ll see Pontus in the Premier League but will it be with Leeds? I doubt it.
This isn’t the only ‘One to Watch’, we are releasing a one to watch article for every nation in the World Cup. An hour before each team kick off their first World Cup Group Stage game, we will release that nations one to watch. These can be viewed here – One to Watch for all Nations in World Cup 2018
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