• Nathan Smith

MUST WATCH: FIVE MOST EXCITING YOUNG PLAYERS IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP


The EFL has produced a lot of exciting players in years gone by, and this season is no different. The Championship is one of the biggest proving grounds in world football and we are looking at five young players that have an exciting future ahead of them.


All players are under 23, and cannot be loanees, so players like Ethan Laird and Ian Maatsen miss out, but these are five of the biggest standout young players in England’s second tier.


SORBA THOMAS


CLUB: HUDDERSFIELD TOWN

POSITION: RWB


AGE: 21


After arriving at Huddersfield from Boreham Wood, no one expected Sorba Thomas to make the impact he has in his first season in the Football League. Having recently received his first Wales call-up and player of the month award, Thomas has caught a lot of headlines as of late due to his rapid rise and when you look at his performances, it is deserved.


The wing-back currently has the most assists in the league with 6, and that matches up with his expected assists of 6.01, which puts him clear of 2nd place Harry Wilson who has 3.87 xA. Thomas has proven to be one of the best attackers in the league, and isn’t afraid to take on his man, with a 63.93% dribbling success rate.


If the Welshman can keep this up, then any Premier League side that uses a three or five at the back system would be silly not to bring the Huddersfield star to their club.


BEN BRERETON DIAZ


CLUB: BLACKBURN ROVERS


POSITION: ST


AGE:22


It has been some summer for Ben Brereton Diaz, who didn’t just add Diaz to his name, but some Chile international caps and a starring role in the country’s Copa America run, as well as a Pepsi Max advert.


Blackburn paid £7m for his services in January 2019, and originally it looked to be a poor decision from Rovers, but it looks like Brereton Diaz has finally reached some of his promise, and he has continued where he left off last season.


In a Blackburn side missing Adam Armstrong and Harvey Elliot, the striker has stepped up and partially filled the void left by those players. He’s currently overperforming on his expected goals, with 10 goals from a 7.96 xG, but his link-up play with another exciting youngster in Tyrhys Dolan will be very encouraging for Blackburn fans.


Brereton Diaz looks very confident making runs off the last man and has shown a poacher’s instinct, which makes you wonder why he wasn’t given the chance up front much earlier.


HARRY SOUTTAR


CLUB: STOKE CITY


POSITION: CB


AGE: 22


Standing at 6’6”, Souttar is what you would expect from your stereotypical Stoke City centre-back, but he has been very impressive since his breakthrough into the Potters first team. His performances out on loan at Ross County and Fleetwood earnt Souttar a place in the Australian national team, where he has a perfect six caps and six goals record.


Michael O’Neill sides are typically hard to break down, and while they haven’t been defensively perfect, the Australian has certainly stood out. Souttar has 81.93% of his defensive duels, the second most behind Semi Ajayi, and has the highest aerial duel success, which is no surprise considering his physical presence.


While comfortable with the ball at his feet, these statistics show that Souttar is a fantastic combative defender, and you would think a lower Premier League side may take the plunge, if Stoke cannot achieve that promotion themselves.


JAIDON ANTHONY


CLUB: AFC BOURNEMOUTH


POSITION: LW


AGE: 21



Under Scott Parker, we have seen plenty of young players make an impact at Dean Court. The likes of Gavin Kilkenny, Jordan Zemura, and Mark Travers have all stood out for the league leaders, but we will be talking about exciting winger Jaidon Anthony.


After ten years at Arsenal, Anthony joined Bournemouth in 2016, and has made his breakthrough into the first team this season. With two goals and four assists, it has been a good start for the youngster, and with manager Scott Parker showing a lot of belief in him, this could be a very exciting season for the Englishman.


Anthony has played ten key passes so far this season, which is the 5th most in the league, and shows that he is not afraid to take risks in a possession-first system that Scott Parker employs. Bournemouth have strong promotion ambitions, and if they can achieve that, then it would be no surprise to see Anthony continue playing a starring role in the Cherries’ side.


FABIO CARVALHO


CLUB: FULHAM


POSITION: AM


AGE: 19


Fabio Carvalho entered this season with a lot of expectation, as a shining light in a Fulham team that also have a lot of expectation on them. While it hasn’t been perfect for the Cottagers, they have had some great moments and Carvalho has shown why he is regarded in the way he is.


With three goals, he has shown a knack for finding space and making himself available for the shot, but he has flattered to deceive with assists so far, but his 1.28 key passes per 90, which puts him third in the league, shows us that it’s not for the want of trying.


Away from statistics, Carvalho is one of those players that carries a charisma on the pitch that makes you pay attention, and it is no surprise that clubs like Southampton are linked with the youngster.