When it comes to Doncaster Rovers' player of the year there is only one choice

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Though it has been a very good season for Doncaster Rovers to date and there have been some notable performances across the campaign, selecting a player of the year was hardly a difficult task.

Should the season eventually resume and the final ten games be played, there would need to be some truly stand-out individual performances for the chosen name to be usurped.

And that name is Tom Anderson.

The man mountain at the heart of the defence has enjoyed a superb season as the key figure in a defensive unit that has been one of League One’s best throughout.

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Tom AndersonTom Anderson
Tom Anderson

Brave, strong, composed, the 26-year-old has delivered unrivalled consistency throughout the season with dominant performance after dominant performance.

He has ensured a string of the division’s most dangerous forwards have had quiet afternoons, from Ivan Toney to Charlie Wyke.

Try to recall a header he has missed. Or a time when he has been out-fought in a tackle.

What makes Anderson’s season all the more impressive is that his personal success could not have been easily predicted.

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Last year under Grant McCann, he was a fringe player, stepping in when others were injured or suspended and often finding himself rather harshly having to stand aside on their returns.

The departures of Andy Butler and loanee Paul Downing last summer handed Anderson an opportunity - and he never looked back.

He was strong throughout pre-season, transitioning seamlessly through the change of manager to plant his flag in the ground for a regular place.

His performances suggested that all he needed was a chance and, having got one, he was definitely going to take it.

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Prior to the campaign, ask anyone to describe Anderson’s style and the words no-nonsense would not have been far from lips.

A head it and kick it defender with a visible history of broken noses to tell the story of a you-shall-not-pass approach.

But we have certainly seen this season that leaping to such an assumption is doing the Burnley lad a disservice.

Under Darren Moore, the Rovers defence are expected to play football. They will be receiving passes out from the goalkeeper and, with Seny Dieng doing the distributing, they will very often have to think on their feet and fast.

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Many would have been forgiven for wondering how the 6ft4 centre half would cope with such an approach.

But they need not have worried.

He has ably and comfortably brought full backs and sitting midfielders into play, as well as launching longer balls to put wide forwards on the attack.

And then there are the odd occasions where he fancies advancing with the ball himself.

It says everything of Anderson’s progress that Rovers were quick to tie him down to a new deal. He has emerged as one of the division’s best centre halves and shown that he could step up to a higher level.

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And it has been baffling to see his name not in the conversation more when it comes to teams of the year for League One.

For us at least, there is no doubting his stand-out contribution to Rovers.


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