Leeds United's decision to hand Pontus Jansson a new five-year contract could provide the defender with a much-needed confidence boost as he bids to return to his best form, according to former Peacocks midfielder David Prutton.
Jansson only signed a three-year contract when he joined Thomas Christiansen's side from Serie A outfit Torino on a permanent basis in the summer after enjoying a rather successful loan spell at Elland Road, but the club hierarchy decided to reward their £3.5m ($4.6m) acquisition with fresh terms last week.
Jansson was recently taken out of the team by Leeds boss Christiansen and admitted that his performances had not been up to the required level during the weeks prior to his removal from the Whites' defence.
Prutton, who made 77 appearances during his three-year spell with Leeds, is in no doubt that the 26-year-old will prove to be a pivotal figure in the coming years and has backed the Swede to recover the form that made him such a popular figure with supporters last season.
"It's kind of ironic that in the first week when Jansson was dropped on the basis of form, Leeds gave him a five-year contract," Prutton was quoted as saying by The Express. "It's also a good thing, a ringing endorsement of a player who possibly needed an injection of confidence.
"Regardless of how he's been playing in the last few weeks, Jansson is good enough to deserve a deal like that. He's someone who could be at the centre of a good Leeds United team for a long time.
"The adage of not becoming a bad player overnight applies in this case and I'd expect him to be back in the frame before long."
Jansson recently admitted that his form has been "s**t" in recent weeks, and Prutton believes his frank analysis of his own performances left Christiansen with a simple decision to make. Everton loanee Matty Pennington has been preferred to Jansson for Leeds' last three matches, but the former Malmo star did play most of the second half of his side's 2-1 defeat by league leaders Sheffield United on Friday (27 October).
"For one thing, it's hard for Jansson to argue the toss when he's openly admitting that he's not been up to scratch. But beyond that, it possibly made Christiansen wonder where Jansson's head was at," Prutton said.
"I admire the honesty because there's a culture in football of no finger-pointing these days, even though finger-pointing is sometimes needed, but maybe Jansson sowed the seed in Christiansen's mind. Maybe Christiansen felt like it was the right time to rely on somebody else."