10 Championship Players Who Should Be In the Premier League

By Ben Morris in Soccer
| October 23, 2021 5:20 am PST
English Premier League Logo, Sky Bet

The Championship is teaming with top players. In fact, the second tier of English soccer boasts more quality than many of Europe’s top-flight divisions.

Due to the stature of historic clubs like Nottingham Forest, Fulham, and West Bromwich Albion, the Championship is able to attract exceptional players from around the world – making it one of the most competitive leagues on the planet.

Naturally, there are plenty of Championship players who are good enough to play in the Premier League. Some of them have played in the EPL before, while others are still waiting for their big break.

Considering the spotlight is always on the Premier League, I thought it would be good to show the second tier the credit it deserves.

So, join me as I look at ten Championship players who should be in the EPL.

Sander Berge – Sheffield United

Sander Berge
  • Age: 23
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Market Value: £16.20m

in January 2020, Sander Berge became Sheffield United’s record signing when he joined from Belgian side Genk for £20.70m.

At the time of his record-breaking transfer, Berge was being monitored by some of Europe’s elite clubs. But after moving to Bramall Lane, the Blades suffered relegation – and now he is plying his trade in the second tier of English soccer.

The Norwegian made his international debut when he was just 19 and has since earned 24 caps for his country, underlining his talent.

Best known for his relentless work-rate, Berge is an industrious defensive midfielder. Although he isn’t afraid to do the dirty work, he is also an excellent ball carrier and can instigate attacks for his team.

Even if Sheff Utd doesn’t gain promotion this season, I’m sure it won’t be too long before Berge is back in the Premier League.

Harry Wilson – Fulham

  • Age: 24
  • Position: Right Winger
  • Market Value: £15.30m

Despite joining Liverpool at the age of eight and coming through the academy on Merseyside, Harry Wilson never managed to make an EPL appearances for the Reds.

He did, however, play 31 top-flight games on loan at Bournemouth during the 2019-20 season – scoring an impressive seven goals in the process. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to earn him a permanent move to the Premier League.

The Welsh winger lit up the Championship on loan at Cardiff City last term, notching seven goals and 12 assists.

Following a standout individual campaign, Wilson left Liverpool for Fulham in July. And he has since picked up where he left off last season, racking up three goals and three assists across his first six Championship outings.

Of course, it was always going to be difficult for Wilson to break into the Liverpool first team. But he has done enough over the past couple of years to warrant a move back to the EPL.

Sam Johnstone – West Bromwich Albion

Sam Johnstone
  • Age: 28
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Market Value: £7.20m

Sam Johnstone was the only Championship player to get called up to the initial England squad for Euro 2020. I think that tells you everything you need to know about his ability.

West Bromwich Albion was relegated from the Premier League last season, but Johnstone remained a bright spot throughout a gloomy campaign. He even managed to keep six clean sheets and made countless important saves along the way.

Valued at £7.20, there is no denying that Johnstone is the best goalkeeper in the division.

I mean, his nearest challenger – Fulham’s Marek Rodak – is only valued at £4.50m.

The Baggies have made a flying start to the 2021-22 season and remain unbeaten after ten matches. Johnstone has achieved four shutouts in that time and has also conceded six goals.

If the 28-year-old shot-stopper continues to contribute to his team’s rise, he could find himself back in the EPL sooner rather than later.

Aleksandar Mitrovic – Fulham

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Striker
  • Market Value: £14.40m

Aleksandar Mitrovic doesn’t belong in the Championship – it’s as simple as that.

The prolific striker arrived in England from Belgian club Anderlecht in 2015, teaming up with Newcastle United. Although he took a little while to adapt to the EPL, he still managed to score ten top-flight goals for the Magpies.

Since joining Fulham, however, the Serbia international hasn’t stopped scoring.

ALEKSANDAR MITROVIC IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Team Games Goals Assists
Fulham 64 14 6
Newcastle United 40 10 4

Mitrovic has helped Fulham gain promotion to the Premier League on two occasions, averaging a goal every other game in the Championship. He has yet to replicate those numbers in the top tier, but he has always been in a struggling team.

As a powerful, no-nonsense striker, Mitrovic is capable of bullying defenders and finding the net at a rapid rate. That is why I view him as a Championship player who should be in the EPL.

Jefferson Lerma – Bournemouth

Jefferson Lerma
  • Age: 26
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Market Value: £13.50m

What is a player with 24 international caps for Colombia doing in the second tier of English soccer? Well, that is a very good question.

Having joined Bournemouth from Spanish side Levante in 2018, Jefferson Lerma already has 63 Premier League appearances under his belt. However, he dropped down into the Championship following the Cherries’ relegation in 2020.

In all honesty, I’m surprised that an EPL club hasn’t tried to snatch Lerma from Bournemouth.

I mean, I can think of numerous top-flight teams that would benefit from his services.

The combative midfielder protects the backline, making key tackles and interceptions all the time. He isn’t afraid to get in the box, too, making him an all-round threat to opposing sides.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of Premier League clubs are monitoring Lerma’s progression.

Grady Diangana – West Bromwich Albion

  • Age: 23
  • Position: Left Winger
  • Market Value: £9.00m

It’s fair to say that Grady Diangana never managed to fulfill his potential at West Ham United.

The tricky winger only made 17 top-flight appearances for the Hammers during the 2018-19 campaign, contributing just one assist. On the back of that season, he joined West Brom.

Diangana came to life in 2019-20, bagging eight goals and seven assists in 30 Championship outings. Thanks to his efforts, the Baggies were promoted to the Premier League, although they were relegated the following year.

GRADY DIANGANA IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP (2019-20)
Appearances Starts Goals Assists Minutes
30 23 8 7 1,864

In my eyes, the DR Congo native has proved that he is ready for a move back to the EPL. Not only has he added goals and assists to his games over the past couple of years, but he has also matured into a true professional.

With West Brom on course for a second promotion in three seasons, Diangana could be back in the Premier League next term.

Ben Brereton Diaz – Blackburn Rovers

  • Age: 22
  • Position: Striker
  • Market Value: £6.30m

It is easy to forget that Ben Brereton Diaz is still only 22. After all, the striker made his first-team debut for Nottingham Forest in 2017 and has since clocked up almost 150 Championship appearances.

Brereton Diaz swapped Nottingham for Blackburn on a permanent basis in 2019. And given Forest’s recent struggles, I’m sure the City Ground faithful would love to have him back.

Despite being born in Stoke-on-Trent, the striker represented Chile at the 2021 Copa America. Thanks to his Chilean mother, he is eligible to play for La Roja – and he even managed to score against Bolivia in the summer.

Since returning from South America, Brereton has been unstoppable. He has netted nine goals across his opening ten Championship matches this term, including a hat-trick against Cardiff.

If he carries on the way he’s going, Premier League clubs will surely come calling.

Harrison Reed – Fulham

Harrison Reed
  • Age: 26
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Market Value: £9.00m

Harrison Reed has already proved that he can operate at the highest level.

Between 2013-14 and 2016-17, he made just 17 top-flight appearances for Southampton. During that period, he was loaned out to Norwich City, Blackburn, and Fulham.

After a successful loan spell at Craven Cottage, Reed joined Fulham for £5.85m in 2020. Looking back on it, I think the Cottagers got an absolute bargain.

The diminutive midfielder played 31 EPL games last season, exhibiting his undeniable quality. Boasting a calmness on the ball, an eye for a pass, and an unrivaled work ethic, Reed stands out in the heart of Fulham’s midfield.

Although he was unable to prevent his side from relegation last term, he definitely has a future in the Premier League.

Lucas Joao – Reading

Lucas Joao
  • Age: 28
  • Position: Striker
  • Market Value: £4.95m

Reading was one of the surprise packages in the Championship last season – and Lucas Joao was the Royals’ star performer.

The giant forward spent four years at Sheffield Wednesday between 2015 and 2019, going somewhat under the radar. He wasn’t exactly a prolific goalscorer for the Owls, netting just 29 times in 127 appearances for his former club.

Since arriving at Reading, however, Joao has transformed himself into a lethal marksman.

The Portuguese bagged a whopping 22 goals and seven assists in 40 outings across all competitions last term, including 19 goals in 35 Championship starts. Pretty impressive, right?

With several top-flight teams struggling for goals this season, I wouldn’t be shocked if one or two EPL sides take a serious look at Joao when the winter transfers window opens.

Rhian Brewster – Sheffield United

  • Age: 21
  • Position: Striker
  • Market Value: £10.80m

I am 100% certain that Rhian Brewster will get another shot at the Premier League.

Having come through the ranks at Liverpool, you can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for the young striker. I mean, battling against the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino for a place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI is about as tough as it gets.

Brewster enjoyed a positive loan spell at Swansea City in 2019-20, bagging 11 goals in 22 appearances for the Welsh club. He was then snapped up by Sheff Utd but failed to keep the Blades in the EPL.

The 21-year-old has all the attributes to become a top striker. He is quick, boasts clever movement, and can score all different types of goals. As the table below details, he has also starred for England at various youth levels.

RHIAN BREWSTER – ENGLAND YOUTH RECORD
Name Number of Medals Sport
Level Caps Goals
England U21 13 1
England U18 1
England U17 23 20
England U16 4 4

Although he may never be able to make it at a club of Liverpool’s stature, I can see Brewster scoring stacks of goals in the Premier League in the coming years.

More Championship Stars Who Should Be in the EPL

Ultimately, the second tier of English soccer is littered with excellent players – many of whom have played in the Premier League before.

Due to the competitive nature of the EPL, clubs with top players get relegated from the top flight every year. As a result, there are tons of Championship players who should be playing in the Premier League.

I have covered ten standout names in detail above, but here are ten more Championship players who should be in the EPL. Be sure to keep an eye on these guys; maybe one day you’ll be able to place mobile EPL bets on these names.

  • David Brooks – Bournemouth
  • Tosin Adarabioyo – Fulham
  • Dominic Solanke – Bournemouth
  • Abdallah Sima – Stoke City
  • Dael Fry – Middlesbrough
  • Matt Grimes – Swansea City
  • Jed Wallace – Millwall
  • Morgan Gibbs-White – Sheffield United
  • Joe Worrall – Nottingham Forest
  • Jason Knight – Derby County

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