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Sky Bet Championship: Young players to watch

10 June 2020

With the the Sky Bet Championship returning to our screens on 20 June, we look at some of the brightest young talents currently playing in the EFL, and the impact they could have in the final nine games of the Championship season.

Jude Bellingham
Age: 16 
2019/20 Appearances: 32
One of the most outstanding youngsters in then division, much has been made of the 16-year-old this season and it’s no surprise with his performances for Birmingham City that Premier League clubs are keeping a close eye on him. 
Having burst onto the scene in a 3-0 defeat to Portsmouth back in August in the Carabao Cup, in turn he became in the club's youngest-ever player beating the record previously set by Trevor Francis back in 1970. 
Birmingham born and bred, Bellingham has gone on to capture the hearts of Blues supporters, and it would have been a dream come true for him to score his first goal as a professional footballer at St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium in a 2-1 win against Stoke City. 
With Pep Clotet’s men sat eight points clear of relegation, Bellingham and his teammates have the perfect opportunity to show what they are made off in the remaining nine games, but it remains to be seen if the youngster will still be wearing the blue of Birmingham City next season. 
Eberechi Eze
Age: 21
2019/20 Appearances: 37
Goals: 12 
The 2019/20 season has been one has already been one to remember for Ebe Eze. Having initially spent time in League Two on loan with Wycombe Wanderers during their promotion-winning campaign two years ago, Eze is certainly living up to his potential this season. The young forward has been the leading light in a Queens Park Rangers side that has been solid overall under Mark Warburton’s guidance. 
The 21-year-old has continued to make his way up the internal ladder at QPR and has continually shown that he is a player that can play at the very highest level. He’s certainly been one to watch this Championship campaign and 12 goals in 37 Championship appearances highlights his attacking intent, but his eye for a pass is where the R’s are benefiting the most. 
Eze has eight assists to his name, which is the fifth joint highest in the division and again much like Bellingham, it comes as no surprise that the England U21 star has been tipped for a move to the Premier League. 
Ben White
Age: 22
2019/20 Appearances37
Goals: 0
One of the most talked about players in the division, 22-year-old Ben White has been tipped by pundits to be a future England international. Currently on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion, White has worked his way up the footballing ladder with previous loan spells in Sky Bet League Two and One with Newport County and Peterborough United respectively. A number of outstanding performances for Leeds United have been crucial to the Yorkshire side’s quest for Premier League football next season. 
The plaudits haven’t sopped there for White who was recently compared to the likes of Rio Ferdinand and John Stones by Sky Sports EFL pundit and former footballer Keith Andrews. A ball playing centre-back, White has certainly caught many people’s eye during his loan spell from Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion. 
You can disregard the stat about scoring goals and replace it with goals conceded, which Leeds United have the lowest. Leeds have conceded just 30 goals in the 37 games that the central defender has played in - the lowest in the division - as White and Liam Cooper have build quite a partnership at the back. 
With only nine games of the Championship season left to play, White will be keen to ensure that Leeds United pick up where they left off, and is likely to play a ket part in the remainder of the campaign. 
Rhian Brewster
Age: 20
2019/20 Appearances11
Goals: 4
Rhian Brewster reunited with former England U17 manager Steve Cooper upon joining Swansea City on loan from Liverpool in January 2020. Having only previously appeared for Liverpool in a Carabao Cup fixture against MK Dons earlier this season, Brewster made his league debut in the South Wales derby against Cardiff City. It didn’t take him long to make his mark, as just six days later, he he scored his first professional goal, netting in a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic. 
The youngster has since picked up a total of four goals in 11 games and has been highly impressive in each of his performances in the Sky Bet Championship. 
Having been on the bench as an unused substitute for Liverpool in the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final, Brewster already has a winner’s medal that many can only dream of to his name. A player with huge pedigree and potential, he will be desperate to finish these last nine games in style. 
Bryan Mbeumo 
Age: 20
2019/20 Appearances34
Goals: 14
One third of the much-talked about Brentford trio, alongside Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo has been one of Brentford's most influential players this season, which has seen them rocket into the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off places. 
The BMW, as they have been christened, have notched 46 goals between them, with Mbeumo grabbing 14 of those strikes. As well as having a keen eye for goal, he has provided six quality assists for his teammates this campaign. 
Having joined Brentford from French side Troyes AC in August 2019, the 20-year old departed France after making 46 appearances and scoring 12 goals for the club. 
He has also made his bow on the international stage, albeit at youth level, for the French national team and his performances this season were recognised earlier this season with a nomination for the EFL Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year at the 2020 London Football Awards. There’s no doubt that he’s a player with a bright future ahead of him. 
Nathan Ferguson
Age: 19
2019/20 Appearances21
Goals: 1
Lying in second place in the Sky Bet Championship, West Bromwich Albion have gone from strength to strength under Slaven Bilic after appointing the Croatian back in June 2019. One player that has benefitted from his arrival has been 19-year-old Nathan Ferguson, who has turned out 21 times so far this season. 
Having joined Albion at the age of eight, the boy from Birmingham had been previously given his chance in the EFL Trophy, and after a professional debut in West Brom's opening day victory over Nottingham Forest earlier this season, he has continued to impress during his step-up to the big stage.
He scored his first professional goal against Queens Park Rangers back in September and it was a month to remember for the youngster as he also made his England U20 debut during a 1-0 victory over Switzerland. 
Whether West Brom will be in the Championship or the Premier League next season remains to be seen, but we know one thing for sure, Nathan Ferguson will be a prize asset for the Baggies over the next couple of seasons. 
Conor Gallagher 
Age: 20
2019/20 Appearances36
Goals: 6
Chelsea midfielder has Conor Gallagher has enjoyed loan spells with two Championship sides this season, firstly starting out with newly-promoted Charlton Athletic and now with South Wales outfit Swansea City. 
Gallagher made an instant impact for the Addicks scoring three goals in his first six games with his new club, including an important winner against promotion contenders Fulham at The Valley, which subsequently saw him named the EFL’s Young Player of the Month for August. 
Having been recalled and sent on loan to Swansea City in the new year, Gallagher has turned out for the Swans on 10 occasions since January, and with Steve Cooper’s men only three points off the final Play-Off spot, players like Gallagher and Brewster could prove to be the difference. 
He has represented England at U17, U18, U19 and U20 youth levels, winning the 2017 U17 World Cup and earlier this season also received his first call-up to the U21 England squad, making his debut during a 2-2 draw against Slovenia. 
Grady Diangana 
Age: 22
2019/20 Appearances21
Goals: 5
Starting life at a new club can sometimes be difficult, but scoring two goals on your league debut after falling behind away from home, should help you settle in quickly. Having come on as a substitute at half-time during West Brom’s Championship fixture against Luton Town, Diangana scored two goals in six minutes to give West Brom the three points, and end Luton Town’s 28-game unbeaten run in the process. 
Signing on loan from West Ham United, Diangana has been on the London club’s books since he was 12.  After making his Premier League debut last season in a 3-1 victory over Manchester United and signing a six-year-deal with the club, the 22-year-old hopes to add a promotion medal to his name with the Baggies before returning to his parent club. Performances this season will have certainly given Hammers’ boss David Moyes something to think about ahead of next season. 
Jason Knight
Age: 19
2019/20 Appearances22
The 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship has been Irishman Jason Knight's breakthrough season at Derby County, with the 19 year old impressing under new manager Philipe Cocu. 
After making his professional debut at the beginning of the season against Huddersfield Town, Knight has taken to the Championship comfortably, making more than 20 appearances so far this season.
The midfielder now has four goals in 22 appearances for the Rams, including a brace just before the turn of the year against Charlton Athletic, and with senior talents such as former England captain Wayne Rooney and Tom Huddlestone in the Derby County squad, there’s no doubt that Knight will continue to improve as he learns his trade with some of England’s best.  
Han-Noah Massengo
Age: 18
2019/20 Appearances23
Goals: 0
Young French midfielder Han-Nah Massengo is in his debut season with Bristol City, after moving from Ligue 1 Side AS Monaco back in August. The highly-rated 18-year-old made his professional debut in the UEFA Champions League for Monaco against Club Brugge in 2018, and in doing so became the first player born in the 21st century to play in the Champions League. His performance was rewarded with a league debut against PSG later that month. 
After coming up against the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in recent years, the tireless midfielder signed for Lee Johnson’s Bristol City in August 2019, following the departure of former skipper Marlon Pack. He has already contributed with more than 20 appearances this season, and will be hoping to make a name for himself in England, starting with helping the Robins secure the final Championship Play-Off place this season.

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