(Photo: Action Images)
By Adam Ellis
Eight games remain in the season for the majority of Championship sides and with promotion and relegation soon to be decided, the EFL has named its Team of the Year.
Only Fulham can muster a player towards the selected XI out of the teams not currently in the promotion or play-off spots, with Brighton & Hove Albion bagging the most recognition, as left-back Scott Malone .
Last year’s heartache in the final game of a promotion-chasing year against Middlesbrough at the Riverside has provided enough motivation for the Seagulls to power on under boss Chris Hughton; David Stockdale, Lewis Dunk, Anthony Knockaert and Glenn Murray all being selected.
Hughton does not claim the Manager prize, however, as they accolade is handed over to David Wagner who’s laser-precision recruitment has overhauled Huddersfield Town from 18th-placed mainstays into surprise promotion contenders.
The German/American has a win percentage rate that is nearing 48%, as the Terriers go in search of top flight football after a 45 year absence.
Silky playmaker Aaron Mooy and full-back Tommy Smith earn their spots for contributing to the Yorkshire club’s 3rd-place standing.
Their West Yorkshire rivals Leeds also feature two inclusions with Pontus Jansson perhaps being the most beloved Swede to feature across all EFL leagues this season.
The defender has become a fans’ favourite at Elland Road for his hard-but-fair approach in defence and is joined by revitalised striker Chris Wood, whose two goals against Brighton last Friday took his tally for the season to 27 in all competitions.
The Kiwi’s rival for the Championship’s Golden Boot award Dwight Gayle partners Wood and Murray in attack, after the Newcastle United striker shrugged off competition from Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ayoze Perez and Daryl Murphy to become Rafa Benitez’s first-choice striker for the league’s table-toppers.
The former Peterborough United striker’s 21 goals this season see him added to the team with team-mate Jonjo Shelvey behind him in midfield.
Agree with the EFL’s selection? Comment below with who you think was wrong to be omitted?