This is something a bit different to what I have already written on my blog, but it’s something that I thought would be an interesting read for my viewers.
Essentially, this is a list of players who I think would be playing for England, if the England squad was only chosen from Championship players. I will also be doing the same thing for an England squad in League One only and then in League Two only, in what I hope will be interesting and thought provoking reads. In all three cases, I have imagined that I am the England manager, and am picking the squad.
CHAMPIONSHIP ENGLAND SQUAD
Dan Bentley (Bristol City) – The Robins’ stopper has made a very impressive start to his career, having moved from Brentford over the summer. He was also a consistent standout performer for the Bees. He will be a solid and dependent option in goal.
Joe Day (Cardiff City) – Everyone will know about his abilities in goal, as he was the keeper who helped Newport County to make so many headlines in cup competitions of the last few years. His move to Cardiff this summer was an amazing addition to the Bluebirds’ squad, and his call up to this England squad is another sign of how good a keeper he is.
Declan Rudd (Preston North End) – The player who would probably be first choice goalkeeper. He is one of the best keepers in the Championship, and has already played for the lower levels of the England team. His experience will be extremely beneficial in this squad.
Rico Henry (Brentford) – A left-back who followed current Aston Villa boss Dean Smith to Brentford from Walsall, he is a dependable option on the left flank who gets up and down the pitch ably. He could play as a left-back or as left wing-back if they went with a back three.
Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) – The Bluebirds skipper is a reliable centre-back who is strong at the back, but also good at attacking set pieces and corners, which is what a good defender should be. His leadership qualities also help to give him his place in the squad.
Jayden Bogle (Derby County) – Bogle is a player who emerged under Frank Lampard last season, and quickly established himself as the former Chelsea captain’s first choice at right-back. He is still young, which is why he perhaps wouldn’t start, but he would be someone to definitely give some minutes too during a match if possible. He is another full-back who likes to run up and down the pitch as well.
Lee Buchanan (Derby County) – He is a player who really interests me, and that is why he has been included. Whilst he is still only 18, and is only in his first season in the Rams’ first team, he has flourished under Phillip Cocu’s management. His inexperience will mean he won’t be in the starting XI, but he will learn a lot from being with the squad, and eventually he would get minutes in the team.
Luke Ayling (Leeds United) – Leeds signed Ayling from Bristol City in 2016, and he has gone on to be one of the best right-backs in the Championship. His ability to defend but also to be at the heart of the attack, and get shots at goal away as well as create opportunities for teammates, which is why he will likely be the first choice at right-back. Again, like with Rico Henry and Jayden Bogle, he has the ability to play at right wing-back, which adds squad flexibility.
Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest) – The Nottinghamshire-born centre-back is one of the most promising defenders in the Championship, and, despite spending the season at Rangers last time out, has returned to Forest to become one of the first names on the team sheet this season. He is also a leader at the back, and has played as part of a back three and a back four. Therefore, he is likely to be in the starting XI.
Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion) – A player with huge amounts of experience in the Championship, having spent a year as Leeds captain on loan from Swansea, and then his permanent move to the Baggies. Bartley is a commanding centre-back who will add so much to the defence.
Chey Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) – Perhaps an outsider for the squad, but someone I have been impressed with so far this season. He is a leader at the back for the Latics, constantly clearing incoming crosses and blocking chances, and as such he is someone who adds another excellent option in the defensive ranks.
Joe Rothwell (Blackburn Rovers) – Sometimes an underrated player who controls the midfield, and he is also a player who likes to pull the strings to allow the likes of Bradley Dack, Adam Armstrong and Danny Graham to do what they do in the Rovers’ attack.
Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers) – Anyone who has followed this player over the last few years will know what he is capable of. He can play as a winger on either side or in behind the striker as a no. 10, so he offers plenty of options, and he also scores lots of goals, so there is no way he could be left out. He is a probably starter.
Josh Murphy (Cardiff City) – He is a player I liked in the Premier League last season, who runs at defenders and is just as able at cutting inside and having shots at goal as he is at putting crosses into the box. He is a winger who can play on either side as well, which is equally as good.
Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic, on loan from Chelsea) – Another youngster who looks to be a brilliant find by Addicks boss Lee Bowyer. Gallagher is an attacking midfielder who has scored some really good goals already this season, and who can fit in anywhere in the middle of the pitch. Unlikely to start, as he is still just 19, but, like with Jayden Bogle, he is likely to get minutes.
Kieran Dowell (Derby County, on loan from Everton) – A player who excelled previously for Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United in the Championship, he is a very good player to have, and can score goals from anywhere on the pitch.
George Honeyman (Hull City) – An outsider to start, Honeyman was Sunderland captain last season as the Black Cats reached the play-offs, and his presence in the middle of the pitch means he could be a good option to have in different match situations.
Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United) – One of the first players to be named in the squad, Phillips is a very highly-rated player who sits in front of the back four and protects it so well, and is equally as adept at that as he is at creating goalscoring opportunities. Will be a nailed on starter.
Jack Clarke (Leeds United, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur) – Spurs signed Clarke from Leeds over the summer and loaned him back to the Whites, but he is a really exciting player to have. Not necessarily a goalscorer, but he tends to run to the byline and then cross balls into the box, and that is something different to what is already in the squad.
Lewis Wing (Middlesbrough) – Another player who plays as an attacking midfielder, and who is capable of and has scored outrageously good goals from long distance, Wing is a player not shy of confidence. That is a good characteristic to have, as it means he can be relied upon to pass the ball to other players and to make things happen himself.
Matty Cash (Nottingham Forest) – Another attacking midfield player who scores goals, Cash can play as a no. 10 behind the striker or as a wide attacking player. His flexibility is what hands him a place in the squad.
Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) – One of Forest’s standout players over the last season or two, Lolley is player who is never shy of a goal threat. He plays as a winger, which gives another option out wide and good balance.
Eberechi Eze (Queen’s Park Rangers) – Such an amazing talent, and someone to really look out for. Eze is a natural midfield goalscorer, and adds such a threat. He will be a really big contender to be in the starting XI.
Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) – A natural goalscorer who hadn’t really found a club to settle with, but has been brilliant since he joined the Blues.
Ollie Watkins (Brentford) – A really exciting player who signed for Brentford from Exeter City in 2017. He initially featured for the Bees as a right winger, because the central striking role was taken by Neal Maupay, but since Maupay has departed for Brighton, Watkins has been given the striker’s role, and has not let up his goalscoring habits.
Martyn Waghorn (Derby County) – Another natural goalscorer who couldn’t be left out. Waghorn was an influential member of Frank Lampard’s Derby side last season, and hopefully he will do the same against international sides.
Jack Marriott (Derby County) – A player who scored plenty of goals for Luton Town and then Peterborough, but has been a little quieter by his standards since joining the Rams. He will be an able backup, but unlikely to be a starter.
Jarrod Bowen (Hull City) – A very obvious choice for the England squad. Bowen has been one of the most lethal players in the Championship over the last few seasons, and, like Ollie Watkins, he can play as a wide attacker as well as a striker, so adds more flexibility as well as a constant goal threat. Could be in the starting XI.
Eddie Nketiah (Leeds United, on loan from Arsenal) – Nketiah is one of the up and coming players for Arsenal. He has not quite made his mark at the Gunners, through lack of opportunity more than anything else, but he is a striker who knows where the goal is. At Leeds, he has already proven that he will be a handful this season. As far as this team goes, he probably won’t start, but will be given some minutes here and there.
Harry Cornick (Luton Town) – A surprise name in the squad, perhaps, but he is another player who can play on either side or as a striker, and he has played well on the whole since his move to Luton from Bournemouth. Unlikely to start, and could end up being that player that doesn’t get any game time sadly, due to the competition for places already in the team.
Lewis Grabban (Nottingham Forest) – Another striker who scores goals for fun in the Championship. He has played for Bournemouth, Norwich and Forest, and has never failed to find the net in a season in the Championship. He is a reliable goalscorer who could be seen as a substitute to come on if the team are lacking a goal threat.
So that’s the squad I would pick from the Championship – but we are only halfway through finding the best English players from the EFL. Next time, I will do the exact same thing with League One.