Everyone knows the Championship is an exciting league because of its unpredictability, with a lot of talent throughout the 24 sides. Here I have picked what I believe to be some of the very best players the league has to offer, and moulded them into a starting 11, with one rule in place – only one player per club is allowed, which makes this rather tricky. Some of the sides near the top have so many good players, but I didn’t think it would be as fun or challenging to pick three or four players from the Newcastle or West Brom squads. Seeing as George Boyd has played most of his football this season at Peterborough I thought it would be okay to pick him and Dexter Blackstock in the same side, despite the fact they now both ply their trade at Nottingham Forest. There are a number of players who I couldn’t fit in, especially goal scoring midfielders and strikers, of which there are so many – there are only 11 spaces after all. So let me know what you think of this side – I reckon it would hold its own in the upper echelons of English football’s second tier….
GK: Keiren Westwood (Coventry City)
During his two seasons at the Ricoh Arena he has proven himself to be a top-class shot-stopper and has given the Sky Blues a solid foundation in their rise up the table. He has also been rewarded for his good form with a couple of appearances for the Republic of Ireland.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace)
At the age of just 18 the full-back has already made quite an impression at Selhurst Park, with his bursts down the flank most noticeable. His speed allows him to recover on the occasions he does make a mistake, which is not too often.
CB: Ashley Williams (Swansea City)
The Welsh international was voted ‘Wales Footballer of the Year’ in November 2009 and this highlights how good he has been during his time with the Swans. His solid and classy displays have helped Paulo Sousa’s men to the best defensive record in the league.
CB: Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United)
The Argentine international was signed by the Toon for a fee of £10 million in 2008 and has quite rightly proven to be an outstanding player in the Championship, rarely being caused much trouble. His physical style seems to be suited to the English game.
LB: Tommy Spurr (Sheffield Wednesday)
The 22-year-old full-back is already highly experienced and is closing in on 200 appearances for Wednesday after nailing down his position over the past three years. Has a sweet left foot and also the natural ability to read the game.
RW: Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City)
The former Aston Villa winger has had an amazing season, chipping in with 19 goals in all competitions. This total has been topped up nicely by his penalty duties but it is still superb for a midfielder and has him at the top of the Championship goal scoring charts.
CM: Charlie Adam (Blackpool)
Blackpool paid a club record transfer fee of £500,000 for the Scottish international last summer and he has been worth every penny, netting 12 goals so far as Ian Holloway’s men go in search of an unlikely play-off spot.
CM: Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion)
The Baggies seem to have unearthed a true gem with Dorrans. He has an eye for goal, a good touch, vision and energy which make him a true box-to-box midfielder. Has been Albion’s most influential player as they look to bounce straight back to the top flight.
LW: George Boyd (Peterborough, now on loan at Forest)
The winger completes a quartet of goal-getting midfielders in this line-up. Was loved by both Stevenage and Peterborough fans and the ‘White Pele’, as he was known by them, will be looking to have the same impact during his spell with Forest. Boyd shows a touch of class and trickery that more than makes up for his lack of true pace.
ST: Dexter Blackstock (Nottingham Forest)
The 23-year-old seems to have been around for a long time now but he is still young and has so much potential. Has been part of Billy Davies’ rotation system this season but has managed 10 goals from his 23 starts – a good record when you consider how much else he offers a team with his height and hold-up play.
ST: Jay Simpson (QPR, on loan from Arsenal))
Still just 21, the forward has come through the ranks at Arsenal and shows the touch of class you would expect from a player with such a pedigree. Has often had to play as a lone striker for the West Londoners this season, but he has done an admirable job, bagging 12 league goals in the process.
Any glaring omissions?