Winning With Kids: TheThree Best Young Players in the Championship
October 21, 2015
While the Premier League may be increasingly unpredictable as a competition, it cannot match the helter-skelter nature of the Championship. Not only is this marathon, 46 game division, extremely diverse in terms of the size and available resources of all competing teams, but each round of matches is liable to generate any number of surprise results.
Teams can collapse from the brink of promotion to the depths of a relegation battle in a matter of months, while fluid, end-to-end encounters can be followed by bruising, physical encounters.
This myriad of styles and philosophies should not detract from the quality of young talent in the league, with a number of hidden gems plying their trade on a weekly basis. We’ve already delved into the best academies from across the world, here we look a little deeper at three of the hottest prospects in the Championship…
Lewis Dunk, Brighton (23)
At just 23-years-old, Lewis Dunk is a centre-back with immense potential. Central to Brighton’s charge to the top of the Championship table this term, he first came to attention during a superb performance against Arsenal in the FA Cup. Tall, commanding in the air, and deceptively elegant on the ball, Dunk won an impressive 139 of 212 aerial duels last term and also managed to score five goals from set pieces. He is likely to attract considerable attention from top-flight suitors over the coming months, especially with the growing drive to secure British talent.
Benik Afobe, Wolverhampton Wanderers (22)
This powerful and pacey striker (who started out as an Arsenal youngster), came to prominence while scoring two goals for the MK Dons during their memorable 4-0 win over Manchester United in the Capital One Cup. He has since moved to Championship club Wolves, scoring in excess of 30 goals last season and providing a huge physical threat to even battle-hardened defences. With clubs in the English and Scottish top-flight (including Celtic) interested, Afobe may be set for the big time in the next 12 months.
Will Hughes, Derby County (20)
In some respects it seems strange that Will Hughes is still a Championship player, as he has been linked with a move to the Premier League for more than two years. While he is currently sidelined for up to six months after sustaining a knee injury on the opening day of the Championship season, he is still a wonderful player with a unique ability on the ball and an exceptional range of passing. If he can add goals to his game from a deeper midfielder role, there is no doubt that this gifted England U-21 international can become a real star in the near future.