With a promotion race that remained a four-horse race right until the final couple games of the season, the Championship retained its reputation as one of the most competitive leagues in Europe this year.
While Bournemouth, Watford, and Norwich can look forward to playing in the top flight next season – as can some of the loan stars that shone – there are a number of young players who will, at the moment anyway, be plying their trade at this level for another year.
Here is an XI made up of prospects from within the league that on this season’s showing, have bright futures ahead of them:
GK- Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham)
Most teams have opted for experience stoppers this year, well aware of the attacking threat that almost every side possessed. Fulham bucked the trend by putting their faith in Marcus Bettinelli. The 23-year-old has come through the youth ranks at Craven Cottage, and has now established himself as the club’s number one. He has been prone to the odd mistake this year, but he has shown great character to bounce back instantly and not let those setbacks affect him too deeply.
RB- Moses Odubajo (Brentford)
Mark Warburton used the winger in a slightly deeper role than the one he was accustomed to at Leyton Orient, but has allowed him the freedom to use his speed to get down the line. He has contributed three goals, and set up another five goals for his teammates. His efforts were recognised when he was included in Aidy Boothroyd’s England squad for the recent Toulon Tournament.
CB- Lewis Dunk (Brighton)
Without Lewis Dunk, it is possible that Brighton would be looking at the prospect of a League One campaign. He was by far the Seagulls’ best player. Not only was he solid defensively, but he also finished as the club’s second highest goalscorer of the season, with five goals.
CB- James Tarkowski (Brentford)
The 22-year-old’s all round game has come on immensely this year. He is one of the leaders of this exciting Brentford side, and provides a security that allows their playmakers to play with the freedom they need to do their best work. He has developed a composure on the ball that sometimes got his side into trouble as he arguably relaxed too much, but more often than not, it provided a calmness that helped the Bees finish in the top six.
LB- Tyrone Mings (Ipswich)
Although he moved to Portman Road in 2012, the left-back was only given a regular role in the first team this season, after Aaron Cresswell moved to West Ham last summer. He has taken his opportunity, and established himself as a key member of Mick McCarthy’s side. He is not afraid to get down the line, but is also able to defend more than adequately. He has been previously linked with a move to Arsenal (via The Telegraph), and with the Tractor Boys remaining in the second tier for another year, it would not be a surprise to see another Premier League side come in for him this summer.
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