A crossing specialist who could solve England’s left-back shortage and the playmaker carving it up: Stats gurus show Championship’s BEST English stars as Southgate fears lack of top flight options
- Gareth Southgate fears there is a lack of English talent in the Premier League
- The England boss urged he may have to start looking around the Championship
- Sportsmail selects the best English line-up from the second tier based on data
This week saw England boss Gareth Southgate lay bare his concerns over the future of the England national team as the number of English players playing in the Premier League continues to fall.
Southgate made particular reference to the fact he only had four left-footed left backs playing in the Premier League and conceded he would ‘have to start looking in the Championship or elsewhere’ in the future.
With that in mind, Sportsmail have selected the best English XI in the Championship based on data from the stats gurus at Delphlyx – and it produced some interesting results…
Gareth Southgate fears there is a lack of English talent in the Premier League – and urged he may have to start looking around the Championship for players to represent the Three Lions
Goalkeeper: Matt Ingram (Hull)
Injuries have meant it has been a stop-start campaign for the Tigers goalkeeper but when he has played his numbers have been impressive.
The 6ft 1in shot-stopper has, remarkably, won all of his aerial duels this season and has performed similarly well with his feet, recording an 88.5% pass success rate.
His average of over three saves per game also sees him rank highly compared to other goalkeepers in the division.
Matt Ingram has won all aerial duels this season and performed similarly well with his feet
Ingram’s average of 3.19 saves per game also ranks highly compared to other goalkeepers
Right back: Max Aarons (Norwich)
The full back’s performances in the Premier League mean he has long been seen as a future England international and now Aarons has backed up those displays by producing some impressive numbers in the second division.
Aarons loves to make marauding runs down the right and averages four of those runs per game.
He makes nearly seven progressive passes per match too, showing his eagerness to play on the front foot by passing forwards.
Norwich’s Max Aarons makes nearly seven progressive passes per match in the Championship
Data shows the Norwich full-back is one of the best attacking defenders in the league
Right centre back: Rob Dickie (QPR)
QPR’s season has only gone one direction since the departure of Mick Beale in November – down.
But Dickie continues to be one of the best right-footed centre backs in the division.
Standing at 6ft 3in it is no surprise that his aerial duel success of 68% is one of the best in the league while his overall duel success rate is also an impressive 36.45%.
QPR’s Rob Dickie continues to be one of the best right-footed centre backs in the division
Standing at 6ft 3in tall, Dickie has emerged a formidable defender at QPR this campaign
Left centre back: Jake Cooper (Millwall)
Millwall’s success this season has been built on solid defensive foundations and their key man at the back is Jake Cooper.
The 28-year-old is an experienced operator at this level and has been one of the club’s most consistent performers in recent seasons.
He averages nearly 13 ball recoveries per game and boasts an impressive duel success rate of 30.95%.
Jake Cooper is an experienced operator and one of Millwall’s most consistent performers
Averaging almost 13 ball recoveries per match, Millwall centre-back Cooper is impressing
Left back: Ryan Giles (Middlesbrough)
One of the stars of Middlesbrough’s incredible revolution under Michael Carrick.
Giles’ quality in the final third is unmatched in the division and he averages 2.37 successful crosses per match.
His ability to take on and beat his opposition number is also evident as he averages one dribble past his opponent per game, which is unusually high for a player in his position.
Ryan Giles’ quality in the final third for Middlesbrough is unmatched in the division
Giles’ elite crossing ability has profited Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick this season
Midfield: Matt Crooks (Middlesbrough)
Crooks has bought into Carrick’s style of play and his numbers are showing the rewards of that.
The leader of Boro’s midfield engages in more than six duels while pressing per game and makes an impressive 0.58 successful key passes per ninety.
His expected assists – a metric based on the likelihood that a completed pass will turn out to be an assist – is also right up there compared to other players in his position in the division.
Middlesbrough’s Matt Crooks (centre) engages in more than six duels while pressing per game
Excelling in both attack and defence, Crooks possesses both creativity and work ethic
Midfield: Jack Cork (Burnley)
A name familiar to most Premier League fans but one of the unsung heroes of Vincent Kompany’s incredible Burnley side.
Cork’s stats highlight the fact that he does the simple things well. He averages more than 53 passes and five successful passes into the final third per game.
He has shielded Burnley’s defence expertly too, boasting over 11 ball recoveries and four interceptions per game. Cork already has one England cap to his name after making a substitute appearance in a friendly against Germany in 2017.
Jack Cork has been one of the unsung heroes of Vincent Kompany’s incredible Burnley side
Former Chelsea and Southampton star Cork is continuing to flourish in the Championship
Midfield: John Swift (West Brom)
One of the most dangerous players in the Championship. Swift’s strength is his creativity and he has one of the highest expected assists rankings of all attackers in the division.
His numbers also prove that he is just as willing to work hard in defence as he is in attack having made nearly three ball recoveries in the opponent’s half this season as West Brom look to press their opponents high up the pitch.
John Swift has one of the highest expected assists rankings of all attackers in the division
Few players have created more expected assists (xA) per match than West Brom’s Swift
Right wing: Isaiah Jones (Middlesbrough)
Another Middlesbrough player who is showing his best form under Michael Carrick.
Jones is hard to stop when he is in full flow and has made an average of seven dribbles per match this season.
He also makes an impressive average of three recoveries in his opponent’s half per match.
Middlesbrough’s Isaiah Jones is another player showing his best form under Michael Carrick
Recording an average of seven dribbles per match, Jones stands out in the Championship
Striker: Carlton Morris (Luton)
Morris’ impressive form for relegated Barnsley last season earned him a move to Luton where he has proven his ability as one of the division’s top strikers.
Morris has 15 goals already this season, following his seven for the Tykes last season, and he always proves to be a nuisance for defenders.
He has won an average of 12 duels per game this season and makes nearly four touches in the opposition box per ninety.
Carlton Morris has proven his ability as one of the division’s top strikers since joining Luton
In-form Luton hitman Morris has netted 15 goals already in the Championship this term
Left wing: Grady Diangana (West Brom)
The former West Ham youngster is continuing to prove why former Hammers captain Mark Noble was so upset at the club letting him join the Baggies in 2020.
Diangana is a full back’s nightmare, making more than six dribbles and three touches in the opposition box on average per match. Like Swift, Diangana shows he has the work-rate to thrive in Carlos Corberan’s system at West Brom.
On average he engages in more than five duels while pressing per game and wins the ball back in his opponent’s half an average of three times per 90.
Grady Diangana has made more than six dribbles and three touches in the opposition box on average per match
West Brom’s Diangana shows he has the work-rate to thrive in Carlos Corberan’s system
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