With the Championship season now in full swing, clubs’ campaigns are beginning to take shape. Players have now put the long pre-season behind them. Pre-season is a time for players, old and new, to prove themselves in new surroundings. Which young stars are ready to do so in the Championship? Let’s look at 5 youngsters, who could enjoy break-out seasons in the Championship this year.
Championship Youngsters to Watch This Season
Mateusz Bogusz arrived at Leeds from Ruch Chorzow in January this year, going straight into their development side. He made his debut at the age of 16 for the Polish side, and soon he had the attention of Napoli. But now, he looks set to make an impression for Leeds United’s first team. Having featured heavily in Leeds’ first-team during pre-season, he is waiting for an opportunity under Marcelo Bielsa. He staked his claim for a chance with a goal and good display against Western Sydney Wanderers during their Australian tour.
Bogusz was an unused substitute for Leeds’ first two Championship games of the season. He could make his mark in the League Cup against Salford City on Tuesday. The young Pole is an attacking midfielder by trade, a traditional number ten, able to unlock defences with his passing and dribbling abilities. If he can make good on his chance, Bielsa may opt to call upon him to ease the side’s creative burden on Pablo Hernandez‘ shoulders.
Jude Bellingham made the news this week as the youngest person to ever play for Birmingham City – 16 years and 38 days – beating Trevor Francis’ record. He has been with Birmingham since the age of seven, making his debut for the U23 side at just 15. He only begun a two-year scholarship with the Blues in July this year, but is already on the fringes of the first team. After his debut against Portsmouth on Tuesday, the Birmingham Mail named him man of the match.
The youngster is confident with the ball at his feet, and his intelligence allows him to read the game well for his age. With the work ethic and drive to succeed, Jude Bellingham could be a name we hear a lot more in the future. Hopefully this season he gets more chances to demonstrate why Barcelona and Bayern Munich were monitoring him.
Steven’s brother Ryan is already a household name in football, after earning a £25 million to Tottenham Hotspur. But, his twin brother is yet to make the same mark on English football. Steven operates on the other flank to his brother, as a right-back. Spurs were also credited with interest in Sessegnon, despite him not yet making his league debut for the Cottagers.
Steven was part of the England U17 side that won the World Cup in India two years ago. He has progressed with the international set-up, appearing in the U20 side during the Toulon Tournament this year.
While behind Cyrus Christie in the pecking order at right-back, he could soon step into the fold. Fulham missed Ryan Fredericks last season, who was crucial to the way they played during their promotion campaign. If Steven fills in, he could provide the attacking impetus from full-back, and follow his brother’s footsteps as one of the top Championship youngsters.
Nathan Collins joined Stoke City from youth club Cherry Orchard in 2016, and made his debut for the Potters last season against Swansea City. After signing a five-year contract with Stoke in July, this could be a huge season for the 18-year-old centre-back. With Ryan Shawcross injured for the majority of this season, Collins may have a chance to impress Nathan Jones.
Collins stands tall at 6’4″, a commanding presence in the defence. He played the full 90 minutes against Queens Park Rangers on the opening day 2-1 defeat. Manchester United were even credited with interest in the young Irishman at the beginning of the summer. Perhaps Collins could be key to an upturn in Stoke’s form.
Financial troubles at Queens Park Rangers have culminated in a flash sale this summer. Key players Matt Smith and Luke Freeman have left for greener pastures, and the Hoops may have to rely on youth this season. Players like Eberechi Eze and Olamide Shodipo have already made the step-up to the first team, but now it could be the turn of Ilias Chair.
The 21-year-old Moroccan U23 international enjoyed a spell on loan at Stevenage last year. He scored six goals, and created six more in 16 appearances in League Two, with some stunning goals, including an effort from inside his own half against Swindon Town. The loss of creative linchpin Luke Freeman could hand Ilias Chair a similar opportunity in the Championship.