Three Championship Players Who Have Surprised Us This Season So Far
It’s been a predictably frantic and close start to this year’s Championship, with the top 9 clubs in England’s second tier separated by just 6 points.
Leeds’ position in the top five, along with the big spending Wolves’ 2nd place ranking are perhaps no surprise, though the presence of newly-promoted Sheffield United and Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City in the top three are more surprising.
Within those very disparate squads are some rather surprising individuals who were not expected to take the league by storm this term. Here, we take a look at three of the best:
Joe Garner (Ipswich Town)
Alright, Garner has played in this league before, but that was with a then-underwhelming Preston North End side, and his time in Glasgow with Rangers cannot be hailed as a roaring success.
Pedro Caixinha’s busy summer recruitment drive, on the face of things, looked to be improving Rangers beyond recognition. However, very little has changed north of the border and in seeing the likes of Barrie McKay, Martyn Wagnorn and Garner turn in good performances at this level, it makes me wonder whether he has sold the right players.
Garner is averaging a goal or an assist ever 150 minutes this season in a league appreciably better than the Scottish Premiership. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprise but let’s be honest, most of us are.
Joe Bryan (Bristol City)
Players have come and gone at Bristol City, and the left-back position at the club as such, is not where people usually look for inspiration. In Bryan however, City have a player of great talent who is really coming into his own in the early part of this campaign.
At 24 years of age, it’s understandable that Bryan has not been on many radars as yet but his performances up and down the left-hand side at Ashton Gate have been truly outstanding of late. His defensive responsibilities are not shirked, though his dribbling skills and speed mean that he has everything needed of a modern left-back.
Should Joe Bryan improve his passing a little more, big clubs will come circling around him over the next year or so, just as they did with Leeds’ Charlie Taylor.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Cardiff City)
Given the way they have started the season, no list such as this would be complete without a Cardiff City player getting a mention.
The 25-year-old Mendez-Laing has been plying his trade down the right this season in Wales and catching many an informed eye in doing it. In fairness, he has plenty of weaknesses but his ability to take on opponents and drive into the penalty area have yielded great results. The Birmingham-born man’s impressive stats show 4 goals and 2 assists in 10 Championship starts.