How Sheffield Wednesday defender Julian Börner has gone from unheralded signing to fans' favourite
Five months ago Julian Börner arrived at Sheffield Wednesday as a relative unknown.
But the genial German has quickly established himself as a firm fans' favourite and one of the first names on the teamsheet.
His fine performances at the heart of Wednesday's defence saw him shortlisted for the Championship's player of the month award for October.
Although Börner, Huddersfield Town's Juninho Bacuna and Millwall striker Tom Bradshaw were pipped to the prize by Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic, the 28-year-old has helped make the Owls one of the best defences in the league.
"His mentality helps him to come over to this country and the type of league he has faced, the Championship, in terms of how physical and mentally demanding it is," said Wednesday manager Garry Monk. "That has allowed him to adapt quicker, so credit to him.
"Overall, he has been consistent performed well, and I am sure there will be more to come from him. How he has handled that transition has been really impressive.
"He is a good guy around the group, all the players and staff like him.
"He’s very respectful, but determined, a fighter and that’s his mentality. He likes the aggressive side of it and he looks at it as a challenge over here, the physical side of the league.
"You face different types of strikers week-in week-out, he’s trying to rise to that challenge and there’s still a lot of improvement in him to come."
Despite making an uncharacteristic mistake in the build-up to Blackburn Rovers winner last weekend, Börner is expected to line-up alongside Dominic Iorfa when Wednesday entertain Swansea City on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood said: "He has done really and so has everyone at the back.
"To be fair, I have always said it that defending starts with the strikers and they don't shirk a shift; they really put in a shift that contributes to keeping a clean sheet.
"But going back to Juls [Julian Börner], he has been great. He is a nice guy. He is really loveable and likeable. He is real funny around the place and has been a great addition.
"The whole defence has been brilliant. I think Dominic [Iorfa] has been outstanding."