In one of the most competitive leagues in the world, to narrow the players down to just eleven is near impossible.
Despite this, I’ve attempted to choose my ‘Best Championship XI’. Focusing on experience, performance so far this season and diving into stats for some of the harder selections. In a league that surprises us on a weekly basis, my choices are purely subjective. So with no further ado, I bring to you my Best Championship XI.
Goalkeeper: Tim Krul (Norwich City)
It’s not often you find a Dutch international in the Championship, but this Dutchman is destined to return to the Premier League.
Even with Norwich’s free flowing attack, which can often leave their defence exposed, Krul boasts the league’s third best defensive record with just 25 goals conceded. With years of Premier League experience in tow, it’s inevitable that he’ll add to this with Norwich’s current dominance of the league.
Right Back: Max Aarons (Norwich City)
I promise this list isn’t just Norwich’s starting XI, but with Bayern interested in Aarons, he’s another that shouldn’t stay in the second tier for much longer.
Surprisingly staying with the Canaries this summer, he is the epitome of a modern full back, impacting his team immensely on both sides of the ball. Not only does he walk into every Championship side, he’d stroll into most Premier League teams too.
Centre Back: Mads Andersen (Barnsley)
One of the lesser-known names on this list, he’s one of the many impressive performers in Barnsley’s charge for playoff contention.
With Barnsley’s aforementioned form, it would’ve been criminal to not include one of their men in this team. So, with Andersen second in both blocks & tackles per game for centre backs, he beats out many more experienced men on this list. In just his second season in the league for centre backs, he’s thriving and another who should make the step up to the Premier League in years to come.
Centre Back: Sean Morrison (Cardiff City)
Partnering Mads is Morrison, captaining Cardiff as another side in form making a push for playoff contention.
Unlike his partner in this eleven, Morrison brings bags of experience at this level, with Cardiff being perennial contenders for promotion in recent years. Even in his year in the Premier League, he showed clear ability to remain at that level and could sneakily return to the top tier this season with the Bluebird’s current form.
Left Back: Omar Richards (Reading)
Like the full back on the other flank, Richards has interest from Bayern Munich and a key part of his side’s successes so far this season.
One of the league’s surprise packages, the Royals have made a claim for the throne this year and Richards has been key to this. While an undoubted threat going forward, he also completes the most tackles per game for a left back cementing his position in this team.
Winger: Emi Buendia (Norwich City)
Arguably the best player in the league, Buendia oozes ability on the pitch and was a shoe in for this eleven.
Leading right wingers in goals, assists and key passes per game this season, he’s one of the many stars behind the Canaries being atop the second tier at the time of writing. A host of Premier League sides were in hot pursuit of him over the summer, but like many of the Norwich side, he’s stayed on for a swift return to the Premier League.
Central Midfield: Conor Hourihane (Swansea City)
After starring at this level with Villa and Barnsley, Hourihane has picked up from where he left off with a temporary switch to the Swans in January.
With a staggering four goals in just six games, a goal scoring record strikers would be proud of, the Irishmen wasted no time in reminding us of his quality at this level. Smith didn’t want to see him go from Villa, and it’s clear to see why.
Central Midfield: Nick Powell (Stoke City)
It’s always tough to fit attacking midfielders into the typical 4-4-2 for these sorts of articles, but Powell performances for the Potters pushes him into this team.
A Grealish type player for the Potters, with an arrogance that is backed up by stellar performances. Having secured a big money move to Manchester United from Crewe as youngster, he made a name for himself at this level with Wigan before moving back to the local area with Stoke. Initially frozen out under Nathan Jones last year, he’s been involved in 12 goals so far this season, despite being one of the most fouled players in the league.
Winger: Ismaila Sarr (Watford)
Due to the versatility of wingers in the modern game, I’ve elected to include Sarr as the other winger in this team as yet another Premier League talent at this level.
After a £30 million move to Watford in the summer before last, they nearly profited on the Senegalese sensation this summer but held onto him instead. It’s no wonder Liverpool and Manchester United targeted him, don’t rule another top side chasing him again if the Hornets can’t return to the Premier League.
Striker: Ivan Toney (Brentford)
The latest on Brentford’s conveyor belt of incredible strikers, Toney’s arguably surpassed them all with his performances this season.
More goal contributions than games so far this season, his historic stats have seen Leicester look towards him as Vardy’s successor in the midlands. Having been part of Peterborough and Brentford’s renowned, expert recruitment of strikers, you can’t leave him off a Championship best eleven.
Striker: Teemu Pukki (Norwich City)
Partnering Toney up top is Pukki, a previous winner of the Championship golden boot and once again showing his goalscoring touch this year.
A shrewd addition to Norwich in their previous promotion season, he scored 29 that term and already has 17 this season. Choosing the second striker alongside Toney was tough, but his ability to also step up to the Prem secured his selection to the side. A fourth Canary on this list, they clearly have the league’s best squad, a side primed to play in the Premier League.
There’s my best Championship XI– Who would you choose? Do you deem Deeney a shoe in for a selection? Or does Kieffer deserve Moore credit with his red-hot form? Let me know what you think in the comments or by tweeting us @FanHub_Football!