There is very little choice this season, in fact there is only one in my eyes. If a few players had been here since the start of the season, or been playing they would have been in with a shout, Adam Forshaw and Baily Peacock-Farrell the pair I’m thinking of. However, they weren’t and in my eyes there is only one winner this season, and for those who are regular readers it won’t be a surprise, but you’ll know I’ve come full circle with the player. Of course, it’s Pablo Hernandez.
At the start of the season he was being compared to Samu Saiz and that didn’t help his cause after the back-end of last season. Hernandez tailed off dramatically, as did the team under Garry Monk in the run-in. Hernandez was so important that he was the obvious one who ended up dying off and in the early stages of this season he was looking very similar. The pressure to keep his place when Samu Saiz was breathing down his neck was effecting his performances and the fans all wanted Saiz. Saiz came in and didn’t disappoint and it was a case of finding a place for Hernandez, or benching him. Many thought we were just trying to keep him happy by playing him on the left but he didn’t look to pleased. As the season went on and we went through the bad patch, Hernandez began to step up.
The left hand side became our outlet as Saiz dropped off and as we headed into the festive period Hernandez was carrying us, scoring crucial goals to pick up points, but he couldn’t do it all on his own and in the new year it all came crashing down, and it’s still crumbling as I write this article, however…Hernandez has got better as the games have gone on. In the tough games, down to ten men and losing at home, Millwall and Cardiff particularly stand out, he was the one who wanted the ball, the one who stepped up and looked proud to be in a Leeds United shirt. When others hid, Hernandez came out of the shadows and the Millwall game he dragged us back, playing in the centre of the park and looking like a 21-year-old with no fear or pressure on his shoulders.
I was extremely critical of Hernandez at the start of the season and I stand by what I said at the time, but what he’s done has proved me, and many others wrong and impressed so much he has dusted this award for the site. Last season Chris Wood was up against Kyle Bartley, Pontus Jansson and Rob Green, Ronaldo Vieira also thrown in there but this season there isn’t even a single doubt in my mind. In fact, there isn’t even another candidate, I didn’t even do a list of players I was considering and that tells a very sad story this season. I live in hope every season, you have to as a Leeds fan and the season ticket is renewed again in the hope that this summer we can really kick on and move back to where we were last season, but as it stands that means so much work and it seems unlikely. Blind faith, football fans.