Revealed! Championship team of the year so far, featuring Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham stars



Who knows when we will get to see the PFA Championship team of the year for 2019/20.

There are nine games remaining but the coronavirus has put everything on hold until at least April 30 – and it could go way beyond that, with debates and negotiations to go on for the weeks and months ahead.

But, using player ratings from WhoScored – who use truck loads of data from Opta to rank each individual performance – we have compiled the best XI for the big chunk of the term we have already played.

Here, in a traditional 4-4-2 are the pick of the lot.

And bad luck to Stoke City midfielder Sam Clucas, who misses out by a four-hundredths of a mark.

BETWEEN THE STICKS

Marek Rodak (Fulham, 6.8/10)

Slovakia keeper has been with Fulham for seven years but has only broken through this season. Had spent the previous two campaigns on loan at Rotherham, winning promotion in 2018 and player of the year despite relegation in 2018.

The 23-year-old leapfrogged Marcus Bettinelli as first choice in October and has been a key man for Steve Parker ever since.

AT THE BACK

Matty Cash (Nottingham Forest, 7.2)

The 22-year-old has been converted to right-back by Sabri Lamouchi but still chipped in with three goals and four assists as he has played in all-but one game to now.

NottinghamshireLive reported earlier this week: “Prior to the start of the season Cash was valued at £3.6m, but that figure has increased by a half and now stands at £5.4m.

“Cash was the reportedly being targeted by other clubs during the January transfer window, with Everton, West Ham, Southampton and AC Milan credited with an interest in the Nigel Doughty academy graduate.

“He signed a new contract at the City Ground in November which runs until the summer of 2023, and looks set to be a key for the Reds for the foreseeable future.”

Kristian Pedersen (Birmingham City, 7.2)

Signed by Garry Monk from Union Berlin for an undisclosed fee in 2018, the 25-year-old has played on the left of a back three – but it’s at left-back in a flat back four when he’s been able to most affect matches.

BirminghamLive report: “The resulting displays prompted  interest from top flight Watford in the January transfer window.

“Pedersen, who claimed he was aware of such interest from the Hornets, says he hopes to be playing among the elite of English football sometime soon as he hopes to continue pushing for a place in Denmark’s international set-up.”

Shaun Hutchinson (Millwall, 7.4)

A Millwall stalwart since being released by Fulham in 2016, the 29-year-old has chipped in with five goals this season – but it’s work at the back that has won him plaudits.

Gary Rowett said: “Hutch is a player we’ve seen over the years. You come in and realise he’s better on the ball than we thought he was, more mobile than we thought he was.

“One-v-one defensively he’s probably as good as anyone in the squad. He’s a really good defender, he shows that every day in training. He’s got a great attitude, he’s very popular with the lads as well.”

Luke Ayling (Leeds United, 7.4)

The pony-tailed 28-year-old has been used at right-back and centre-half by Marcelo Bielsa and has twice been PFA Championship player of the month. Has four goals, including three in his last five games.

Bielsa said: “He’s a player who can go from box to box in a few seconds and it’s easy for him to do it. After he finished defending he thinks immediately to attack. He links this distance from defence to attack and it seems like it’s not difficult for him to do it. He does this during all the match and a lot of times.”

IN THE MIDDLE

Jed Wallace (Millwall, 7.4)

The 25-year-old Millwall winger has grabbed 10 goals to help the play-off push.

Former Portsmouth forward joined from Wolves in 2016, having two loan spells at The Den before making the deal permanent the following year.

Matt Grimes (Swansea, 7.1)

Joined Swansea from Exeter in 2015 and has come to the fore as a ball-playing central midfielder under Graham Potter and Steve Cooper.

Ebere Eze (QPR, 7.5)

Supreme talent has lured loads of Premier League scouts to Loftus Road and has been linked with Tottenham.

“He’s a very talented boy,” said Mark Warburton. “He’s working and learning every single day and long may that continue.”

Football.London say: “The 21-year-old attacking midfielder is extremely comfortable on the ball – and very difficult to get off it when he’s in possession.”

Said Benrahma (Brentford, 7.4)

Linked with Arsenal and Leicester, the 24-year-old has been a major figure in Brentford’s bid for promotion.

He said last month: “I am happy (at Brentford), I play, I score, I win, it’s a good position so I am happy. For the moment I am here.

“My ambition is to play in the Premier League. That’s my first ambition. It’s the first step and then continue to progress,” he added.

“If I go into the Premier League God willing with Brentford or…. I don’t know but my ambition is Premier League.”

UP FRONT

Ollie Watkins (Brentford, 7.3)

Converted from winger to centre-forward, he has grabbed the limelight following the departure of Neal Maupay to Brighton.

The 24-year-old, who arrived for £1.8m from Exeter in 2017, has scored 22 times in 38 appearances this season.

He said: “(Brentford) tried to sign strikers and it fell through, but everything happens for a reason and I was obviously meant to play this season up front. I’m glad I’ve got the opportunity and I’m really enjoying it.

“I was really close to Dean (Smith), he had great faith in me. He always thought I’d end up as a number nine. This season, everyone was doubting whether I could score that many goals but I back myself: if you get a chance every other game, you are going to score at least 20 goals.”

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham, 7.3)

The 30-year-old has knocked in 13 goals this season as he has led the line under Pep Clotet – and recently allowed new signing Scott Hogan to shine.

BirminghamLive report: “ During interviews Jutkiewicz claims it’s the result that matters – but he’s counting his goals too, don’t worry about that.

Indeed during his post-match chat with local radio he queried the suggestion he’d got 43 for Blues, contended he is actually on 45, pulled out his phone from his pocket, checked his notes – and conceded the point.

“Jutkiewicz is close to joining an exclusive group of players to have scored 50 times for the club and he’ll know exactly when he does so.”





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