Five Championship stars that could step up to the Premier League
While many of the Premier League’s top sides will be like kids in a sweetshop at the prospect of getting their chequebooks out at the conclusion of the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, many of the division’s teams will be looking elsewhere to unearth the unpolished diamonds in the rough that could prove the difference between relegation and mid-table.
England’s World Cup squad contains eight men who have featured in English divisions outside of the top flight, discounting loan deals, with Phil Jagielka, Chris Smalling, Adam Lallana, Leighton Baines, Joe Hart, Ben Foster, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and – famously – Rickie Lambert all plying their trade outside of the Premier League at some point in their careers.
The Championship is an often overlooked division in Premier League recruitment, but has a track record of producing Premier League standard players.
With that in mind, here are five Championship players that could make the step up to the Premier League.
Quietly turning around their reputation as a chicken-infested nuthouse, Blackburn’s end of season form almost saw them mount an unlikely assault on the Championship play-off places. Key to that revival was manager Gary Bowyer, but one of his most astute signing must also take a large slice of the credit.
Tom Cairney arrived, first on loan, from Hull City at the beginning of the season, before making the move permanent in January.
At home on the left or at the heart of the Rovers midfielder, Cairney scored five goals and provided six assists last season. Only Leeds United’s Ross McCormack created more chances than Cairney’s 90 in the Championship, while the 23 year old also went past his man 44 times, at a success rate of 81%.
Injury robbed Cairney of the chance to be part of Hull’s Premier League dream, with the Tigers touching upon a winning formula while Cairney was out of the side through injury that left him unable to get back into the team.
Having only just signed for a club at which he is player of the season, Cairney is unlikely to leave soon, but should his form continue then he could find himself earning a second crack at the Premier League.