A Championship Team of the Season is usually full of players from teams in the top six, unless you have a ridiculously outstanding season.
This season’s XI consisted solely of players from within the top four – four from Fulham, three each from Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest and one from Huddersfield Town.
That being said, there have been plenty of players who have caught the eye despite featuring for sides who didn’t quite make the top six.
GK – Daniel Iversen / Preston
The Leicester loanee has impressed at Deepdale this season and has become very highly rated.
A string of impressive displays has been backed up by stats making him one of the top-performing goalkeepers in the division last season.
According to FBREF, Iversen boasts one of the highest save percentages outside of the top six and amassed an impressive 13 clean sheets in an inconsistent side.
CB – Michal Helik / Barnsley
The Poland international deserves praise for his 7/10 performances in a side that won just six games last season.
WhoScored highlights that Helik averaged 2.5 interceptions per game and 5.4 clearances, making him one of the top performers in the league this campaign when it comes to defensive duties.
In addition, despite Barnsley’s struggles, Helik was still getting called up to the Poland national side as well, a testament to an impressive individual season.
CB – Marvin Ekpiteta / Blackpool
A player that has under the radar this season is Marvin Ekpiteta.
A reliable, dominant defender who is also comfortable with the ball at his feet has been essential to Blackpool’s steady return to the second tier.
Not only that, but he’s had to deal with injuries to several centre-back partners, meaning the Tangerines rarely had a settled backline, highlighting the exceptional performances put in by the former Leyton Orient man.
CB – Darragh Lenihan / Blackburn
Lenihan has been reliable, consistent and so important to Blackburn this season.
Top six hopes did dwindle as poor form crept in, but the individual performances of Lenihan should be recognised and have probably been overshadowed by the likes of Ben Brereton-Diaz and Joe Rothwell.
RWB – Isaiah Jones / Middlesbrough
Jones has been one of the revelations of the season.
He stepped up when he needed to for Boro as they were bereft of creativity under Warnock. In came Jones and he hasn’t looked back since.
Eight assists is incredible, a stat that could easily have reached double figures had it not been for poor form in front of goal for the forwards at the Riverside.
LWB – Murray Wallace / Millwall
A slight shoe-horn given he’s spent most of the season as a left-sided centre-back but his form for the Lions has to be recognised.
He’s been in exceptional form this season, winning Player of the Season for his side but not only that, he’s been an ever-present reliable defender for a team chasing the top six, and one of the best defensive sides in the division.
CM – Gus Hamer / Coventry City
This will be no surprise to Coventry City fans but Hamer needs praise.
Despite not being as much of a goal threat for the Sky Blues this season, his range of passing, coupled with his ability to turn possession over means his importance to the side hasn’t dwindled.
CM – Matt Crooks / Middlesbrough
Up until the final five or six games, Crooks could have easily been a contender for a place in a team of the season.
Ten goals for any midfielder is exceptional, but not only that, the number of winning goals Crooks has scored to hand Boro three points has been astounding.
For that reason alone, he deserves credit as without his goal threat this season, Boro languish in midtable.
SS – Joel Piroe / Swansea City
22 goals, and six assists. Joel Piroe, just take a bow.
This is all the more impressive when you consider how many of his goals have been one-touch finishes, making him one of, if not the best finisher in the division.
His goal conversion rate and shot accuracy is actually higher than Dominic Solanke and Aleksander Mitrovic, which makes for interesting reading.
In addition, he’s been tasked with playing in a number of positions and roles across the Swans frontline this season and still scored goals.
ST – Ben Brereton-Diaz / Blackburn
It’s impossible to ignore Brereton-Diaz.
20 goals scored by the turn of the year deserves credit and, despite injuries and form impacting his second half of the season, without him, Blackburn are nowhere near the top six.
ST – Andi Weimann / Bristol City
A recall to the Austrian national side is the reward for an incredible season for Andi Weimann.
Not only are his 22 goals an incredible achievement, but ten assists as well despite not having a truly settled position in the Robins starting XI.
He’s a manager’s dream and while he may not hit 20 again next season, you’ll struggle to find more unselfish players than Andi Weimann.
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