Congratulations to Scotland’s Player of the Year, Stefan Johansen, and Young Player of the Year, Jason Denayer. It’s fair to say Stefan had an underwhelming first eight months in Scotland, but the turnaround since October has been stark.
It was during our home defeat to Hamilton Accies that month that I noticed a change in his game. He took on more responsibility and pressed incessantly for the equaliser. The next game, away to Ross County, was a Johansen virtuoso performance and he’s never looked back.
There was a similar ‘So what?’ reaction to Jason’s early season performances. Performances were far more like Efe Ambrose than Virgil van Dijk, but he grew increasingly assured as the season progressed. His international debut two months ago was merited.
Manchester City want him back for next season, where he’ll be second reserve for central defence. On the upside, he’ll get six games, some of which will be in the cups against lower league opponents. If City and the player want to map a route to the first team, this is a step in the process, but it’s not without its risks to the player.