Ah, Christmas time.
the time for giving gifts, spending time with family and friends, and eagerly
anticipating the opening of the January transfer window.
For supporters, it’s a time of mixed emotions: new faces may come in to bolster your squad, but on the flip side, your best talents could be tempted away by the vultures from the Premier League or elsewhere.
5 – John Swift
Premier League side with a need for a midfield playmaker could do a lot worse
than taking the plunge on Reading’s John Swift.
former Chelsea trainee has been in inspired form for a Royals outfit that had,
prior to Mark Bowen’s appointment as manager, been performing well below the
levels expected of them.
amongst the wreckage, a star was shining bright. Swift boasts a phenomenal eye
for a pass, and its little wonder he has made six assists this term and
contributed 3.6 key passes per 90 minutes – a Championship best.
24-year-old is willing to put a shift in defensively too, and with an 83.3%
pass success rate from an average of 51.7 passes per game Swift offers the
confidence and swagger to demand the ball from his teammates.
for that reason why he could add a new dimension to many top-flight midfields,
or maybe a return to the Blues as an understudy to Mateo Kovacic is a
4 – Ben White
fans of a certain vintage will recall a bygone era when the sole responsibility
of a central defender was to head and kick the ball….and anything else for that
has changed somewhat in the modern game, with a premium on athletic types that
can spring accurate passes here, there and everywhere, but even so, a centre
back that offers the beauty and the beast is worth their weight in gold.
forward Ben White, an absolute gem unearthed by Leeds United who has stepped
seamlessly into the breach left behind by Pontus Jansson.
fact he hasn’t missed a minute of Championship action this term, helping the
Whites to the best defensive record in the division, is no coincidence.
tops the charts for interceptions made, averages 1.6 successful tackles and 3.6
clearances per 90 minutes, and enjoys an 85.5% success rate on more than 50
passes per game, on average.
just 22, White is both the present and the future, and you suspect some of
English football’s biggest of guns will be sitting up and taking notice.
3 – Jarrod Bowen
all conjecture and opinion, of course, but many valued judges believe that Jarrod
Bowen is the best player in the second tier by some margin.
Certainly judging by his combined tally from the past two seasons – 36 in 82 – gives that impression, and a further nine in sixteen starts this term keeps the ball rolling. Remember, Bowen is a player that occupies wide areas, so this is a goal ratio of Messi-like proportions.
Third top goalscorer in the Championship (8).
4 goals in his last 3 games.
Still only 22.
— Second Tier Podcast (@TheSecondTier) October 30, 2019
mainly as a right winger cutting inside, the 22-year-old also serves up 1.9
completed dribbles per 90 minutes and 1.1 key passes, and while most Hull City
fans would like to see that assist count improve that is a statistic that can
say as much about his teammates as it does the man himself.
are the most valuable currency in football, and Jarrod Bowen brings plenty of
them to the party.
2 – Ebere Eze
has been a mesmeric rise to prominence for Ebere Eze at QPR.
broke into the Hoops’ first-team picture last season, and while delivering some
eye-catching displays his lack of consistency had many in the stands tearing
their hair out in frustration at a player with bags of ability but little
how that has changed in 2019/20.
21-year-old is the highest-ranked player in the Championship according
to WhoScored, and with six goals and four assists in just sixteen
appearances, it’s easy to see why.
there’s more to Eze’s game than that. He’s a fantastic ball carrier (3.1
completed dribbles per 90 is the division’s best) that plays defence-splitting
balls (1.8 key passes per 90), and it’s not coincidental that only Preston and
West Brom have scored more Championship goals this term than QPR.
can Mark Warburton hang on to his magic man?
1 – Kalvin Phillips
Kalvin Phillips signed a new
five-year deal with Leeds back in September, it was a symbolic gesture as
much as a financial one.
was a football club saying if you want him, you had better open up your
chequebook big time.
a local boy, it would take an extraordinary offer to prise Phillips away from
Elland Road, particularly as they are – once again – seemingly on the brink of
promotion. That’s certainly the view of the bookmakers, anyway, who make the
Yorkshiremen a warm favourite in their Championship
betting odds to lift the trophy.
there is the very real possibility that if he were playing Premier League
football week in, week out, Phillips would earn a call-up to the England squad.
An interesting thought given the European Championships take place next summer.
absolute force of nature in the Leeds midfield, the 23-year-old averages 2.1
key passes, 1.9 crosses, 3.9 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 1.4 clearances –
all per 90 minutes!
is an all-action midfielder with plenty of quality into the bargain, and pretty
much any top-flight side would be lucky to have him.
There are some fine talents
in the Championship, so will any of this quintet be plying their trade
somewhere new come February 1?