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Football

Top Championship Youngsters this Season

Sunday 11th March 2012
A look at some of the best youngsters in the Npower Championship.

When seeing Ashley Young score a 20 yard screamer at the weekend at White Hart Lane, it made me think of when he was at Watford as a youngster,  leading The Hornet's promotion charge and tipped to be a bright prospect in the future, destined to be playing for one of the big boys in the league above.

Every season the Championship produce youngsters that are standing out in a competitive league and with the success of the player, comes the media attention and rumours of big clubs beginning negotiations to make these bright prospects their own.

This season is no different with numerous players in the championship standing out and making their own mark in one of the most competitive leagues in the world, this article looks at some of the players.

Nathaniel Clyne

One of Crystal Palace's brightest prospects, the 20 year old has made a solid start at the club recording over 113 appearances for the Selhurst Park club, in the last four years. He has consecutively been awarded young championship player of the year for the previous two years and in October of this season was awarded the title of championship player of the month.

Over the January transfer window, he was linked to numerous different premier league clubs and according to tabloid newspapers Manchester United had confirmed contract negotiations with the player to bring him to Old Trafford.

At only 20 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him and surely this summer Crystal Palace will not be able to turn down a big offer for the player.

Matt Phillips

If you haven't already heard of him, you soon will. The 20 year old winger is flying in the championship and is already an integral part of Ian Holloway's Tangerines and with exceptional performances for the seasiders in recent weeks which has helped the team to be competing the for promotion this year.

The Aylesbury born player has already been at two previous clubs before in Sheffield United and Wycombe Wanderers and despite his young age has already scored 20 goals in the football league.

Phillips was voted February's championship player of the month and in recent days has been linked away from the club, if Blackpool do not succeed in returning back to the top flight.

According to transfer rumours, Tony Pulis is very keen on the 20 year old and is rumoured to be preparing a £3 million pound deal for the youngster in the summer.

Adam Lallana

Lallana has been one of the best players in the Championship this season and is enjoying being part of a Saints team that are going for back to back promotions. Last season he was included in PFA's League one team of the year and the versatile midfielder has not stopped trying and is now odd on favourite to be included in Npower's Championship team of the year.

The attacking midfielder has recently signed a new deal at St Mary's to keep him at the club till 2015 and even if Southampton do not get promoted to the premier league this season,  the club have the financial clout to keep Lallana, who is destined to be a Southampton legend.

Lewis Dunk

Lewis Dunk has been one of Brighton's best players this season and only at 20 years old, has a very bright future indeed. A product of the seagull's academy, Dunk has notched up 32 appearances already in the Championship and has settled into the first team at Brighton very quickly.

He may have scored one of the best own goals ever seen in the FA Cup, but has performed exceptionally well in the Championship this season and with his contract ending at the end of this campaign, numerous Premiership clubs such as Newcastle and Tottenham are interested in signing the England U21.

Wilfried Zaha

When all the media attention was on Jordan Rhodes at Huddersfield just before the recent transfer window, there was another striker that was also under intense media spotlight, and that player was Wilfried Zaha.

The Ivorian born striker was signed up by Crystal Palace from the AESC Mimosas academy in the Ivory Coast in 2006 and has been part of Palace's set up ever since.

After a startling performance against Manchester United in the Carling Cup, Zaha was catapulted into the media spotlight but has not let this performances suffer, recording seven goals and five assists in 39 appearances this season.

He was subject to a £7 million pound offer from Bolton Wanderers in the recent January transfer window.  Zaha recently signed a new five and half year deal at Selhurst to tie the player down till 2017, so it looks like he will be staying at the club for the foreseeable future, unless a big club comes in with a big offer.
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