5 most underrated players in the Championship
The Championship is the seventh richest league in the world. It also homes some historic English clubs, including Aston Villa, Leeds United and Nottingham Forrest. Due to the continuing increase in both attendances and consumer interest come big-name signings. With that, certain players can slip under the radar. Many don't receive the credit they deserve.
Here are the Championship's five most underrated footballers, in no particular order.
Sheffield United currently sit third in the table, level on points with Middlesbrough and leaders Leeds United. Blades fans are already dreaming of the Premier League. Fleck is integral to realising that ambition.
Since signing in July 2016, the tough-tackling central midfielder has gone about his business on the sly. Only United supporters truly understand how important he is. The 27-year-old helped blow League One away in his first season at Brammal Lane, winning the title by breaking 100 points.
Fleck has since adapted well to the Championship. His relentless energy causes problems for all opposition. He excels at breaking up play, too, making him irreplaceable to manager Chris Wilder.
The Aston Villa centre-back is a tidy player. He learned a lot playing alongside John Terry last season. Chester, a Wales international who started his career at Manchester United, rarely puts a foot wrong. His presence will be crucial from now until the campaign's end for recently-appointed boss Dean Smith.
Chester is no doubt among the first names on Villa's teamsheet. His experience of England's second-tier comes in handy. He played a big role in the Hull City side which were promoted to the Premier League five years ago.
The Blackburn Rovers defender is vastly experienced, having racked up close to 450 career appearances. Those include previous spells at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Celtic and Aberdeen. Mulgrew's goal-scoring record has surprised many during the past year, too. He chipped in 14 times last season, helping Tony Mowbray's team win League One promotion at the first attempt.
Mulgrew has a vital role at seventh-placed Blackburn. His set pieces account for a large majority of their goals.
The Hull City forward is one of the division's brightest young talents. He never gets credited as such, though, perhaps due to playing for a struggling side. Without Bowen, Tigers fans dread to think where their team would be. Scoring 15 goals last season, in his first full campaign at senior level, helped retain Championship status under Nigel Adkins.
Bowen has struck four times since August. He is well on way to replicating last season's tally. If his goal-scoring form continues, Hull will face a battle to hold onto him.
When thinking about Leeds United, players such as Samuel Saiz, Pablo Hernandez and Pontus Jansson stick out. One left neglected is Roofe. He is often overshadowed by the other attackers at Elland Road. The Walsall-born forward was even linked with an exit this past summer. However, his importance to Marcelo Bielsa's outfit can't be dismissed.
Roofe has proven fully capable of leading Leeds' line. After netting 14 times last season, he hit four goals in five games this campaign before picking up a calf injury. On Wednesday night, his header helped down Ipswich Town 2-0. Championship fans must start taking him seriously.