Those who have played in or even watched the English Championship on a regular basis know how strong a league it is and one position which is constantly overlooked and yet is so important is the role of the defensive midfielder.
Holding midfielders have been the rock, the lynchpins of many a good Championship side and without them, goals can flow far too easily.
There are some good contenders so far this season and here are three of the best:
Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
The £16million man probably had to be very good to justify that sort of fee in the second tier of English football and at 20 years of age, he undoubtedly has.
Solid if unspectacular, Neves keeps his cool constantly to do his main job of ensuring opposition play is broken up with his tackles, interceptions, blocks and clearances all up to scratch and with those jobs tidied up, his pass completion rate of 84% shows he is invariably able to then give the ball to a Wolves shirt.
For such a deep-lying player it’s to his great credit that Neves has crept forward and scored three league goals this season too and he is very much a Premier League player of the future.
Tom Huddlestone (Derby County)
We commented here that Huddlestone could still be playing Premier League football and it was much to Hull’s detriment that he chose to leave last summer.
I think he has proven those comments to be correct as he still continues to quietly go about his business in this role, though he does things differently to Neves in as much as he sits deep but considers himself more a part of the attack by virtue of his passing range being used to set up counters.
The 31-year-old has done well this season so far and may yet have one more crack at the top division with the Rams next term.
Tom Trybull (Norwich City)
Much is made of Norwich’s selling tactics over the last year or so with the board getting rid of players from under the manager in a bid to balance the books. Not too many people are commenting enough though on the players who are at Carrow Road, or at least they didn’t before the Chelsea FA Cup tie, and one of the very best is defensive midfielder Tom Trybull.
The German has been outstanding in his 15 Championship starts in this role and at only 24-years-old can only get better in this sort of position – a late maturing role.