10 Championship stars we can’t wait to watch in 2022-23: Cresswell, Dike…
The 2022-23 Championship campaign is upon us. As with every season, there will be no shortage of exciting players to keep an eye on.
The likes of Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard cut their teeth out on loan in the second tier as youngsters. As recently as 2018-19, England regulars like Kalvin Phillips, Reece James, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish were lighting up the division.
With that in mind, here are 10 players we’re really excited about watching in the 2022-23 Championship season.
Fans of Crystal Palace and the Republic of Ireland have great hope in the 18-year-old left-back, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Adaramola is full of promise and plenty will be keeping a keen eye on how he progresses with his first regular taste of senior football out on loan at Mark Robins’ Coventry City.
Any excuse to share this Tayo Adaramola stunner 👌
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) February 20, 2021
The Chris Wilder factor has a lot of people backing Middlesbrough for promotion, but there are reasons beyond the manager that people are excited about what’s building at the Teesside club – not least the loan capture of Giles.
The 22-year-old Wolves academy graduate has over 100 games of experience under his belt in eight previous loan stints across seven different clubs.
Wilder’s Boro could be the one where it all clicks into place for the left winger, who caught the eye last season at Cardiff City. He notched nine assists in 21 appearances for the Bluebirds and could be a real asset for Middlesbrough.
The one area Leeds United find themselves well-stocked is in central defence, which has allowed the very highly-rated Cresswell to go out on loan in search of regular first-team action at Millwall.
The man-mountain centre-back, 19, is the son of former Leeds striker and Football League stalwart Richard Cresswell. He has a handful of appearances for the first team, is now a regular for England’s Under-21s, and is something of a fan favourite at Leeds thanks to his authoritative style and commanding aerial ability.
There’s great hope Cresswell will return to Elland Road to stake a claim for a place in Jesse Marsch’s first team in a year’s time, and experience in the Championship should do him the world of good.
Millwall’s fans have already been encouraged and impressed by his pre-season performances for Gary Rowett’s Lions.
🌋 The floor is lava!
— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) July 9, 2022
Another product of the Leeds academy, Clarke’s career progress hit something of a brick wall when he moved to Tottenham for a £10million fee back in 2019.
The 21-year-old winger failed to kick on in a series of forgettable loans, struggling to recapture his electric early performances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, but a half-season loan at Sunderland last term seems to have got him back on track.
He came up with a crucial contribution in the League One play-off semis last term, helping end Sunderland’s long four-year stint in the third tier. The Black Cats have since signed Clarke on a permanent deal and it’s a move that’s best for all parties.
Seeing Vincent Kompany in place of Sean Dyche in the Burnley dugout will take some getting used to, as will the totally new-look team, with Clarets stalwarts like Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Dwight McNeil and Nick Pope all out and plenty of new faces through the door.
Cullen could well be the best of the lot, as anyone that’s watched the Republic of Ireland under Stephen Kenny in recent years will testify. The 26-year-old midfielder looks naturally suited to the progressive possession game instilled by Kenny, while Kompany is also well aware of what he can offer.
Reuniting with his former boss at Anderlecht, the £2.7million fee paid to the Belgian club should soon prove to be an absolute bargain.
Another Burnley signing, Twine was named the League One Player of the Season last term for an outstanding campaign.
The attacking midfielder notched 20 goals and 13 assists for MK Dons and making a step up is the least he deserves.
“I’m excited. I definitely made the right decision in joining Burnley,” Twine said after the transfer was confirmed.
“I spoke with the manager and his plans are exciting, it was obvious for me to sign. I can’t wait to get started and it feels like the right place for me.”
Jean Michael Seri
The oldest and most established player on this list, we couldn’t help but include him.
Five years ago at Nice, Seri was one of the most highly-rated midfielders in Europe, and some even swore he was the future of Barcelona’s midfield.
The Ivory Coast international never did get that move to the Camp Nou, and instead made an eyebrow-raising switch to Fulham in 2018. He’s since made 70 appearances, amid two loans away, for the Cottagers as they’ve flitted between the top two divisions, including 33 in their promotion-winning campaign last year.
Now he finds himself at Hull, and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on there. It’s a statement signing under the new owner, Turkish media mogul Acun Ilicali. Whether things work out or not for the Tigers remains to be seen, but either way it’s unlikely to be boring.
Was there something in the water back in the Spring of 2020? Jesse Lingard and Joe Willock both enjoyed the hottest of hot streaks on loans at West Ham and Newcastle respectively, and the same was true of Dike at Barnsley.
The US international striker scored nine goals in 19 Championship appearances in a half-season loan from Orlando City, firing the Tykes to an unlikely play-off placing. They’ve since been relegated.
Like Lingard and Willock, Dike has failed to kick on since then. He joined West Brom on New Year’s Day for a fee in excess of £7million but he only made two appearances for the Baggies before succumbing to a season-ending injury.
“I think not playing football for a very long time is something that has fuelled my hunger, fuelled my desire,” he told the Express and Star. “Mentally, I’m a competitor, I love to play all the time, I enjoy playing.”
We hope he can put his injury struggles behind him to shine for Steve Bruce’s side. At full fitness, he looks capable of tearing the Championship a new one.
Best known as a wonderful and inspirational trailblazer – the UK’s first male professional footballer to come out publicly as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990 – Daniels could soon be making headlines on the back pages too.
The 17-year-old forward made his debut for Blackpool last term and could be on the verge of a breakthrough season. He notched 30 goals in the youth ranks for the Tangerines, is very highly thought of, and scored against Chelsea’s Under-18s in the FA Youth Cup.
🚨 Another special 𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁…
We have picked our 𝙈𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 of the 𝙎𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙣.
Jake Daniels’ goal against Chelsea in the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup wins it, as the Moment of the Season for the Academy 🧡
— Blackpool FC Academy (@BFCYouthAcademy) May 2, 2022
No, one of the best pundits on telly isn’t coming out of retirement to give the men’s game a go.
This Alex Scott is only 18 but already has over 40 appearances and nearly 3000 minutes of Championship football under his belt for Bristol City.
The versatile youngster, who has played in midfield and at right-back for the Robins, looks set to kick on further this season. He’ll be full of confidence as he comes into 2022-23 off the back of starring in England’s Under-19s European Championship win in the summer.