Middlesbrough midfielder Adam Clayton has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for December.The rock in Boro’s midfield, Clayton’s industry and breaking up of play in front of a defence which did not concede all month was crucial, while his distribution set the team going forward. He was outstanding in the wins at Brighton & Hove Albion and Ipswich Town.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka said: “I am really pleased for Adam because he is a player who does not get in the headlines but plays such an important role for our team.
“Adam isn’t singled out for praise when our defence is staying tight or when the strikers are scoring goals, but he makes a big contribution to how we play our games. He richly deserves this honour.”
Clayton said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to receive this award. I’m buzzing about it because this is a great league with some very good players.
“We didn’t concede a league goal in December so, to be honest, any member of our back five could have won this award. It shows how well the whole team are playing and I’d like to think this is an award for all of us.”
Sky Sports’ Football League pundit Don Goodman said: “Middlesbrough’s outstanding form during December was largely down to the Clayton and Leadbitter partnership from which their solid performances have been built.
“I’ve personally awarded Clayton two Man of the Match awards on the Sky Sports coverage of games during the month, so it’s an easy decision for me.”
Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Clayton’s Player of the Month award is fully deserved for the role he plays in an often under-appreciated deep-lying midfield role.
“In a team as defensively sound as Middlesbrough right now the engine room of Clayton and his midfield partner Grant Leadbitter is where it all starts.
“Clayton had a dominant month, capped by his performance in the 2-0 away win at Ipswich.”
The judging panel for the Sky Bet Player of the Month comprises Sky Sports Football League expert Don Goodman; Football League Head of Communications John Nagle; League Managers Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery.