Top 5 players to watch in the Championship
Due to the astronomical transfer fees that many of the big clubs in Europe seem to demand for players, it’s no surprise to see so many clubs turning to the lower divisions in a bid to bulk up their squad.
Norwich are probably one of the best recent examples and when Paul Lambert was in charge, this policy worked very successfully for the Canaries who brought in the likes of Bradley Johnson, Jonny Howson and Anthony Pilkington as they kept their divisional status last year.
Of course, it’s not just the so-called smaller top flight clubs who are in on the trick and Manchester United proved that the policy works for everyone after recruiting Nick Powell from Crewe during the summer.
Bearing the above in mind, it’s clear to see that the lower divisions in the UK hold some real talent. We’ll now take a look at some of the top players who are emerging in the Championship and the ones that could possibly be plying their trade in the Premier League in the near future.
Few people will be surprised to see this man on the list, as Wilfried Zaha has become one of the most sought-after Championship prospects in recent months. The fact that Bolton reportedly had an £7m bid rejected last season highlights just how huge his reputation is, while since then the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United have been reported suitors.
He is regarded as the most potent attacking players in the division after scoring four times from fifteen appearances, while it is incredible to see that he has already made over 100 appearances for Crystal Palace despite being just 19-years-old.
It would be fair to say that Charlie Austin has always been classed in that “promising young player” bracket, with his prolific days in non-league football and eventually with Swindon prompted Burnley to swoop for him.
It could be said that it has only been now that Austin has started to show his real ability in the Championship and he is comfortably the division’s top scorer following sixteen goals – while he has scored a further three in the League Cup competition. Austin is regarded as a striker who thrives as a poacher and while he may not be the quickest man in the division, his touch in front of goal is second to none and this could be what earns him a move to the top flight.
At 25-years-old, Kasper Schmeichel is the oldest player in the list. He initially rose to fame as being the son of the United legend Peter and some actually thought he could establish himself within the Manchester City first team after making several appearances.
Since his departure from the City in 2009, Schmeichel has been forced to work his way up the divisions and is now regarded as one of the best keepers in the Championship. He has attracted plenty of praise from pundits around the country for some fantastic performances between the sticks over recent months and there has already been talk that Real Madrid are contemplating a move.
Out of all of the players on the list, John Stones is probably the one that most people didn’t immediately think of. The Barnsley right-back has made a sterling impression for the Tykes this term and has already cemented a regular place in Keith Hill’s team.
At just 19 years of age, it’s clear he has a massive future in the game and the fact he has established himself within the England Under-19 set up, highlights what national chiefs think of him. Rumors have already suggested that Chelsea have been sniffing around and a lot of Barnsley fans already believe that the defender’s exceptional ability to read the game at such a young age will result in a Premier League move sooner rather than later.
This is the second player in the list who is the son of a football legend, with Tom Ince seemingly following in the footsteps of his father Paul. While he is still tricking his way around defenses from Blackpool, there has been an incredible amount of speculation on his future with Manchester United said to have shown an interest.
He generally likes to sit behind the striker and while he has chipped in with seven goals, his main attribute is laying goals on a plate for team mates.