The Recent Players to Really Stand Out at Promoted Sides
It’s fair to say that there are certain players in every team that go along as underappreciated successes. For instance, Gilberto Silva in Arsenal’s midfield alongside Patrick Viera, or Dimitar Berbatov for Manchester United alongside a free-scoring Wayne Rooney. This is also true for those players who ply their trade in the Championship, as England’s second tier has indeed helped to produce some great talent over the years, especially within the last couple.
When it comes to current Championship players, the more creative players within the midfield at Norwich City can be seen to be hidden gems, although some of them are rather well-known from their stint in the Premier League. The Argentinian Emi Buendia and the Englishman Todd Cantwell have both marked themselves as vital pieces of the Norwich City puzzle in helping the team to get promoted this season. Their last endeavour in the top flight two years ago ended in relegation but, hopefully, with another year of development under their belts, especially in the case of Cantwell as a youngster, maybe they will have what it takes to cement the team in the top tier.
The 2019/20 season proved the fact that it is possible for certain players and indeed managers to defy the critics while going under the radar, especially in the case of Sheffield United. In their first top-flight season for twelve years, Chris Wilder managed to guide the Blades to a 9th placed finish and they were being tipped for European qualification by some. The standout for them that season was Wilder’s intriguing overlapping centre back tactic which took them to new heights with the likes of Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell providing more attacking power. Intriguingly, the system had been a key part of Wilder’s tactical repertoire following his joining up with Sheffield United in 2016, after a poor stint with the 4-4-2.
Some hidden gems have helped newly promoted clubs from the Championship to have better seasons than expected. Indeed, in the 2020/21 season, the Rennes winger Raphinha and formerly relative unknown French goalkeeper Ilian Meslier, also formerly of Ligue 1, have given Leeds United a great springboard this season from which to build on. Meslier in himself is a rather intriguing case study, especially given the fact that him signing for a then Championship side is a coup for Leeds, given that he had been subject to offers from both AS Monaco and Chelsea during his time in the FC Lorient Academy.
Having a good defence has been of major benefit to Leeds and has put them in good stead for the end of the season. This is evident within the Premier League betting and odds for Leeds finishing in the top half which currently display good chances for the Peacocks to do so, with odds of 5/6 pitting them favourably against the likes of Crystal Palace at 300/1 and more realistically speaking, Wolves at 50/1.
When it comes to the importance of divisions other than the Premier League in English football, the Championship is key, given its great record with producing and developing some of the country’s top talent. Promoted players can then gain vital experience in the Premier League and, if the team are successful, those players are elevated from being hidden gems to top talents.