Rotherham United of England rising star, Semi Ajayi says he will forever cherish being named best player in the English Championship for the month of March 2019.
Ajayi becomes the next Nigerian player, after Omatsone ‘Sone’ Aluko, to claim the prize in England’s second-tier league, following his top displays and run of goals during the month in review.
A citation for the Super Eagles’ rookie stated that Ajayi’s power and will to win were always suited to the transition from central defence to midfield.
However, it was also noted that less predictable were the five goals he scored in five games; with three coming courtesy of prodigious leaps and flying headers, plus two immaculately timed low shots.
After becoming the first Nigerian player in three years to get the award, Ajayi said: “It is a massive honour, and it is something I am really pleased to receive.
“I have to say though that the award is a team effort, I wouldn’t be in the position to collect the award without my teammates.
“During the month, we performed well in a number of games, picking up some vital points.
“It was a good all-round team effort. I am also hugely grateful to the staff, who have been brilliant.
“It was a good month, and to be given the award ahead of some very stiff opposition is even more pleasing.
“The season is coming to a close now, but from a team perspective, we are still fighting hard to keep this club in the Championship.
“From a personal point of view, this will also give me confidence going into the remaining games this season.”
While the former Flying Eagles defender, who now plays as a holding midfielder for Rotherham, takes home the best player’s gong, Aston Villa’s coach, Dean Smith has been named Manager of the Month.
A perfect month and a maximum 15 points from five games included wins over Derby County, Nottingham Forest and a derby against their local rivals, Birmingham City.
Smith said in his acceptance speech: “I’m delighted to have been named Manager of the Month.
“It’s a reward for all the staff here at Aston Villa. We’ve had a good month, and we now need to make sure we keep it going.”