X
Follow It's Round and It's White on Facebook

The Championship – My Team of the Season

Monday 24th April 2017
It is that time of the season when trophies are won, relegation and promotion decided and awards presented to those players whose performances over the course of a long hard season are recognised.

Here is my Championship team of the season.

GOALKEEPER – KEIREN WESTWOOD (Sheffield Wednesday)



While Brighton's David Stockdale would have been a worthy number 1, I have gone with Sheffield Wednesday's Keiren Westwood.

A consistent performer since joining Wednesday, this season he has contributed to Wednesday's promotion campaign with 14 clean sheets. A proven shot stopper with quick reflexes Westwood has marshalled a defence that has conceded just 43 goals this season, a joint 3rd best in the Championship.

Courted once by Liverpool, Westwood, at 32, is entering his prime now and will hope to be a Premiership keeper come next season.

DEFENCE LEFT BACK – RYAN SESSEGNON (Fulham)

It has been a long time since a young player has made such a big impact in the domestic game. It is hard to believe that Fulham's marauding and talented full-back is only 16 years old. He has caught the eye this, his debut season, with 7 goals, 2 assists and 3 man of the match awards all in just 28 first team appearances. His goals included a double at Newcastle that propelled him into the limelight and national recognition.

An England U17 international and target for England's biggest clubs it is clear Sessegnon will be playing in the Premier League soon. Fulham fans just hope it is with them.

DEFENCE CENTRE – PONTUS JANSSON (Leeds)



A summer signing, Jansson has become a cult hero at Elland Road. At 6 foot 5, he is classic centre-half, strong both in the tackle and in the air. He has made 33 league appearances at the heart of the Leeds defence that has let in just 43 goals to date.

A born leader and Swedish international Jansson was the PFA fans Championship player of the month in December. Initially a loan signing, Leeds insisted on a clause to purchase which they naturally did in February. With the Premier League vultures circling their next challenge is to keep Jansson at Elland Road, something that promotion will all but guarantee.

DEFENCE CENTRE – JAMAAL LASCELLES (Newcastle)



One of the few players to stand up and be counted last season, Lascelles has the strength of character and desire that has lead Newcastle to the brink of an instant return to the Premier League. Made captain at just 23 Lascelles has coped with the expectation and pressures that come with playing at the Championship's biggest club.

A regular at centre-back, Newcastle have conceded just 39 goals while Lascelles has contributed with some key goals in big games versus Brighton, Norwich and Leeds. A worthy member of the PFA Championship team of the season, he is sure to continue to develop under the guidance of Rafa Benitez and could well break into the England squad next season.

DEFENCE RIGHT BACK – BRUNO SALTOR (Brighton)



As the best defensive unit in the Championship, it would have been wrong for any Championship team of the season not to include a Brighton defender. While Lewis Dunk was an obvious choice, I have gone with club stalwart, Bruno Saltor.

At 36 years old Saltor adds experience and know-how to the defensive unit. While his age has not stopped his ability to get up and down the right wing, contributing 4 assists this season.

Selected in the PFA Championship team of the season, it will be interesting to see how he fares in the Premier League but with 40 appearances in Brighton's promotion campaign, few will argue that he does not deserve his chance.

MIDFIELD DEFENCE – AARON MOOY (Huddersfield)



One of the star players in this season's surprise package in the Championship, Huddersfield. Mooy is developing into the complete midfielder.

He is comfortable driving the team forwards as his 8 assists this season demonstrates. Meanwhile, he is equally at home protecting the back four with his ability to win the ball and distribute quickly.

A strong competitor, Mooy has been central to Huddersfield's play-off challenge and would love to lead his side to victory at Wembley before he returns back to his parent club – Manchester City.

MIDFIELD LEFT – TOM INCE (Derby)



Ince had missed just one league game this season as he finally looks to be adding consistency to his undoubted potential.

A highlight of a disappointing season for Derby County, Ince is currently the club's top scorer with 14 goals. He also has the most assists with 5 as he has added an end product to his dribbling, pace and technical ability.

Settled Ince is now producing his best football to date and on his day he certainly has the ability to play at the very highest level. Possibly even matching his father's (Paul) achievements at international level

MIDFIELD CENTRE – TOM LAWRENCE (Ipswich)



Leicester City Loanee, Tom Lawrence has been the difference between Ipswich fighting a relegation battle and a comfortable mid-table finish. Particularly in those dark winter days when Town were embarrassing themselves in the FA Cup against non-league Lincoln City, Lawrence stepped up to the plate scoring with both regularity and a touch of class.

Playing best as an attacking midfielder, Lawrence has the ability drive forwards with the ball and run at the defence. He has a great shot on him with many of his goals coming from outside of the box, while he also has an awareness to play a teammate in. Such qualities were demonstrated in his assist for Freddy Sears opener in the recent win versus Newcastle.

A cert to be Ipswich's player of the season, Lawrence tops both the club's goals and assists list. Sadly for the Tractor Boys, this will probably be the last they see of him with manager, Mick McCarthy again reiterating that it is unlikely that Ipswich will be able to sign him in the future.

MIDFIELD CENTRE – TOM CAIRNEY (Fulham)



A player with Premier League experience and winner of his previous club, Blackburn Rovers, player of the season, Fulham were signing a proven midfielder when he moved to the cottage in June 2015.

At Fulham, Cairney has continued to improve, learning from teammates such as Scott Parker and this season he has emerged as Fulham's main man in the club's promotion challenge. Almost an ever-present this season with 42 starts, Cairney has contributed to Fulham's excellent season with 11 goals and 11 assists. His passing accuracy is particularly impressive averaging over 90% over the season.

Fulham are the current team with momentum and the one that nobody will want to face in the play-offs. They play exciting, attacking football of which Cairney is central. Their season is far from over and expect Cairney to make the headlines come the end of May.

MIDFIELD RIGHT – ANTHONY KNOCKAERT (Brighton)

The first name on the team sheet. The selection of Anthony Knockaert on the right side of midfield was a no-brainer. The Championship player of the season, Knockaert has been the best player at the league's best club.

Skilful, direct and with an eye for goal, Knockaert has been the driving force behind Brighton's rise to the Premier League. An ever-present in Brighton's successful promotion campaign Knockaert has scored a personal high 15 goals and 8 assists. A fan's favourite he has entertained the Seagull supporters who love him for his commitment and dedication to a club that has supported him after the loss of his father.

He has briefly tasted the Premier League before with Leicester but after his heroics this season you would expect him to make a lasting impression this time round.

CENTRE FORWARD – TAMMY ABRAHAM (Bristol City)



There were lots of contenders for the centre forward position. Glen Murray, Dwight Gayle and Chris Woods have all had exceptional seasons but there is another player rubbing shoulders with these at the top of the Championship goalscoring charts – Tammy Abraham.

Abraham currently sits 2nd in the Championship leading scorers with 23 goals in what is his debut season at this level. What has been more impressive is that Abraham has achieved this with a Bristol City team that has struggled this season. Without his goal's City would almost certainly have been relegated a long ago.

Still a teenager, Abraham has become a hit at Aston Gate. He has that quality you would expect from a Chelsea loanee but also the application to produce an end product when it matters. He has bags of ability and is comfortable either running at defenders or poaching goals in the 6-yard box.

The England U19 international has a bright future ahead of him. Bristol City will hope they can persuade Chelsea to secure his goals for another season

MANAGER – NIGEL CLOUGH (BURTON)



There are plenty of candidates to manage this side. Chris Hughton for completing Brighton's fairy-tale after last season's disappointment. Rafa Benitez for sticking with Newcastle after relegation. Jaap Stam, David Wagner and Gary Monk have all exceeded expectations at their respective clubs. For me though Nigel Clough's achievements in keeping Burton in the Championship surpasses all.
Allan Kemp

Born in Suffolk but a Norwich City supporter who is currently exiled in Dallas, US. I am an FA level 2 coach and also a published author, my book of Hall of fame - Norwich City's - All-Time Greats is available from all good bookshops. I am now working on my second book, with Pitch Publishing - Newcastle United Hall of Fame. I'm also a keen reader of football-related books.


Total articles: 50

Latest Opinion Articles