Jacob Brown has won the EFL Young Player of the Month award for January.
The young forward had a scintillating start to 2019 as he helped propel Barnsley into the automatic promotion spots with one goal and five assists.
“When I got told that I’d won the award I was buzzing because I never expected to win anything like this,” admitted Brown upon receiving his accolade.
“Even if it was just League One it would have been a massive achievement, but for it to be League One, League Two and the Championship makes it even bigger.
“I didn’t really expect anything like this. I got a goal and five assists – if at the start of the season I was told that I’d get that all season I’d have been buzzing, but to get it all in just one month was good.
“I didn’t even imagine being in the first team this season but, like I said, I just worked hard in pre-season and the Gaffer has given me my chance eventually. I feel like I’ve taken it and I just want to keep improving.”
Brown scored his first home goal in the Yorkshire derby victory over Bradford City before setting up Alex Mowatt for the Reds’ third in a commanding performance at Oakwell.
That was a third consecutive win in South Yorkshire for Daniel Stendel’s side, having previously put promotion rivals Peterborough United and Charlton Athletic to the sword over the festive period.
“That was my first goal at home so it was an amazing feeling, especially with it being a Yorkshire derby against Bradford,” continued Brown. “A lot of my friends are Bradford fans with me being from around that area, so it was good to score. I went on my phone after the game and a few of them were giving me a bit of stick.”
The 20-year-old provided assists for Cameron McGeehan at AFC Wimbledon and Cauley Woodrow in the comeback against Rochdale as the Reds started to click through the gears.
He before the stole the show with two more assists at the Kassam Stadium as Barnsley rescued a point at Oxford United, laying on goals for Mamadou Thiam and Kieffer Moore.
“When you go 2-0 down, you just want to get as much as you can from the game,” insisted the Reds’ forward. “It was a very tough game, but as soon as we got that first goal, we wanted to get another and then go on and win it. But from 2-0 down, to go on and draw is a good achievement.”
Crucial to Brown’s development this season has been the trust and patience shown by Stendel, who has opted to experiment with the youngster’s versatility.
The flying forward grabbed his opportunity with both hands and has rewarded the faith shown in him by the Reds’ Head Coach with a number of eye-catching displays.
“Right wing is my most comfortable position,” said Brown. “At the start of the season I only really saw myself as a striker, but the Gaffer has played me in different positions and given me confidence, and I feel like I can play anywhere really.
“In training, I work really hard both on the field and in the gym afterwards. I’m always doing a lot of work in the gym and extra practice out on the pitch, so it shows that hard work does pay off.”