Year after year, the Championship continues to serve as a gleaming conveyor belt of talent. In the past, we have seen the likes of Jack Grealish, James Maddison, Mason Mount and Harry Kane grace the English before showcasing their footballing capabilities in the top flight.
But now, we are focusing on the next generation. Who are the most awe-inspiring young prospects in the division? Who could be on the move? Here are the ten finest prodigies currently ripping up the Championship.
Starting off this luxurious list is Blackburn Rovers hotshot Tyrhys Dolan.
Having been released by Preston North End in the summer, Dolan was snapped up by Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers and has wasted little time in igniting Ewood Park. A crafty technician, Dolan has registered three goals and two assists in only five starts for the Lancashire-based outfit, predominantly featuring on the right side of an incredibly prolific front three.
Whilst a position in the starting lineup has often proved a hard task for the nineteen year old, Dolan’s astronomical rise cannot be undermined. Not only does the fledgling forward possess frightening talent, he also has a spirited heart and desire to go with it. For young Tyrhys Dolan, the future certainly looks bright.
It comes as something of a spectacle when Brazilian flair is exhibited in the Championship. But that is exactly what Watford’s Joao Pedro is showcasing this campaign.
Pedro, who joined the Hornets at the back end of 2019, had lofty expectations upon his young shoulders following his side’s relegation to the second tier.
It would be a fair assessment to state that Pedro has met the standards set of him. With six strikes to his name, the Brazilian forward leads the scoring charts at Vicarage Road and his stellar showings in Hertfordshire have prompted reported interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Staggeringly, the former Fluminese man is still at the tender age of nineteen. Having previously captivated perennial powerhouses Barcelona whilst starring in his native Brazil, it could require a herculean effort for the Yellow Army to keep hold of their prized asset beyond this summer.
Even though Brentford starlet Bryan Mbeumo has failed to emulate his successes from last season, the French attacker still remains one of the most promising youngsters in the Championship.
The Bees have certainly been buzzing this campaign, sitting just two points off second-placed Swansea as they seek to avenge their Wembley heartbreak from the 19-20 season and reach the Premier League for the first time in their history.
In particular, right-winger Bryan Mbeumo has been a significant source of craft and creativity in a goal-crazy Brentford side. With three strikes and six assists to his name, the twenty-one year old continues to prove a handful for second-tier defences on a routine basis.
By all accounts, it has been a successful 2020-21 season for Barnsley so far. Under the leadership of French coach Valerien Ismael, the Tykes currently sit twelfth in the division, a comfortable position and a far cry from the perilous relegation battles of the past.
Arguably though, twenty year old Callum Styles has been Oakwell’s crown jewel.
A versatile midfielder most commonly deployed on the left side of a midfield four, Styles combines energy and industry with an inventive desire to get forward and help the attack.
Possessing such a wide skill set, it serves as little surprise why the former Bury man has attracted the interest of high-flyers Brentford, whom he scored a decisive goal against on the final day of last season to keep the South Yorkshire outfit in the division.
With three strikes and a further two assists under his belt at the time of writing, it is nothing short of imperative that Ismael can convince their star man to see out the campaign at Barnsley.
Next up is Swansea City’s Ben Cabango, who has enjoyed a truly meteoric rise over the last year.
Now a trusted member of a tight-knit Swansea backline- which boasts the best defensive record in the division- Cabango has earned an ever-increasing list of plaudits for his marshalling displays in England’s second tier.
A physical colossus, strong in the tackle and a daunting threat from set plays, it is easy to see why head coach Steve Cooper has instilled such faith in the youngster- handing him fourty-seven outings for The Jacks since taking over in South Wales.
The Liberty Stadium has facilitated the emergence of a host of talented young footballers over the years. Names such as Dan James, Oli McBurnie, Ben Davies and Joe Allen are just a few who have gone on to play at the highest level after plying their trade at youth level for Swansea.
Exhibiting so-very stellar performance on an extremely consistent basis for Cooper’s impenetrable outfit, Cabango could well be accompanying the aforementioned names before long.
Here, we have another promising twenty year old centre back currently starring for the Swans.
No, I haven’t included Cabango twice. This is instead illustrating the talents of his partner in crime, Marc Guehi.
A world champion during his days in the England youth setup under the tutelage of current boss Steve Cooper, Guehi is evidently an entrusted component- featuring in all but three games of The Jack’s promotion pursuit so far.
Highly thought-of back at parent club Chelsea, the prodigious young defender is in his second loan spell in South Wales, and is universally viewed as one of the finest in his position across the league already- and with good reason.
Adored to great extent amongst the Swansea City faithful, Guehi is a statistical sensation. With 1.9 interceptions per game, 1.8 successful tackles per game along with being dribbled past just 0.2 times each match, it is not hard to figure out how the Swans are so resolute at the back with a footballer of Guehi’s talent in their ranks.
A supreme individual with a glittering career in front of him.
For all the unstylish football Stoke City are so often accused of playing, Tyrese Campbell is most certainly a gripping customer.
Although the fledgling forward is sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury, that should not deter you from his tremendous talents.
Capable of causing havoc anywhere across the frontline, Campbell lit up the bet365 stadium with a series of scintillating showings, notching six goals and five assists in just sixteen appearances, with many of them coming from the right-wing.
Now, I am not suggesting Campbell carried the Potters on his back, but Michael O’Neill’s men have only tasted victory once since the twenty-year old sustained his injury.
Discouragingly, the twenty year old has the same amount of goals this season as Steven Fletcher, Sam Vokes and Lee Gregory combined. This really does exemplify the evident need for a goalscorer in the Potters’ ranks, having seen their assault on the playoff positions tranquilised in the absence of Campbell.
A virtual ever-present for the Canaries last campaign as they agonisingly slumped to a league-record fifth relegation, adventurous young right-back Max Aarons was one of the few Norwich players to depart the top flight with a sense of self-pride.
In fact, many were surprised when the London-born prodigy made the decision to remain at Carrow Road, following sustained interest from a variety of footballing heavyweights.
Despite now playing in the Championship, such interest has failed to evaporate. Aarons, who has been one of the league leader’s standout performers, has reportedly been courted by the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and everyone’s rumour-mill favourite, Manchester United.
The twenty-one year old precisely fits the bill of a modern-day full-back. With an impressive 1.4 created chances p/90, it is a fair assessment to state that Aarons enjoys the attacking element of the game.
Should he continue to thrive and brush up on his defensive attribute, it could only be a matter of time before Aarons is eventually prized away from East Anglia.
At just seventeen years old, teenage sensation Harvey Elliott has left a lasting impression during his time at Ewood Park.
Regularly dancing Championship generals twice his age, Elliott has elevated his profile to being one of the most potent forwards in the division since joining Blackburn Rovers on a season-long loan from Premier League champions Liverpool.
Tony Mowbray’s exhilarating, enthralling side possess a frightening appetite for the back of the net- after all, they are the division’s top scorers. And young Elliott has been paramount to Blackburn’s goalscoring exploits.
A captivating, creative force beholding a weaponised wand of a left foot, Elliott leads the way for assists across the division with eight to his illustrious name, along with four strikes in twenty appearances.
If that was not enough to convince you that Harvey Elliott is going to be a star, the flamboyant forward has also created fourty-seven chances for his teammates over the course of campaign.
Surely, the wing wizard has done more than enough to earn the opportunity to strut his stuff at the highest level next season.
Finally, coming in first is Reading prodigy Michael Olise.
A classy, artistic operator with a touch of elegance to his game, the young winger has enraptured a party of British football’s top dogs due to his bedazzling performances in the Championship.
Reportedly tracked by the likes of Leeds, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, Olise has been in fine form for the Royals, racking up four strikes and eight assists to emerge as one of the most sought-after prospects in the country.
It is simple. When Olise is on the pitch, Reading are a better side. The French youth International stands top of the pack in terms of assists, big chances created and key passes per match amongst his teammates, which heavily indicates the level of importance that the nineteen year old has at the Madejski Stadium.
Although Reading are very much in the promotion race, it seems more and more likely Michael Olise will be a Premier League footballer next season. Whether that is in Berkshire or not though, time will decide.
Would you add anyone else to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image credit Swansea City