3 PL starlets who are currently excelling in the EFL Championship
Ever since its inception, the EFL Championship has proven to be a wonderful breeding ground for top-quality young talent and it has been no different this season.
The English second-tier might not be as glamorous as the Premier League but it provides up-and-coming players with the perfect competitive atmosphere to groom their skills and take their careers to the next level.
At the end of every season, the top performers in the Championship emerge as some of the most sought-after players for the Premier League clubs.
The likes of Neal Maupay, James Maddison, David Brooks, Adam Webster and Daniel James have all reaped the benefits of polishing their game in the gruelling surroundings of the Championship and are now established players plying their trade in the Premier League.
On the flip side, there are several rising talents who often gain valuable exposure while on loan in the second-tier before establishing themselves in a substantial role at their respective top-flight clubs.
The likes of Harry Wilson, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham and Harvey Barnes, all of whom spent time on loan in the Championship last season, have gone on to establish themselves as regular fixtures for some of the top clubs in the Premier League.
Similarly, there are several others waiting out on the wings to grab their opportunities and with that in mind, let us look at 3 PL starlets who are doing exceedingly well on loan in the EFL Championship.
1. Conor Gallagher (Charlton)
Charlton Athletic had been tipped to struggle for survival in the Championship, following their promotion from the League One. The Addicks have so far, however, taken critics by surprise and Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher has been central to everything Lee Bowyer’s side has achieved in the second-tier this term.
Primarily featuring as a left-sided central midfielder in Bowyer’s preferred 4-4-2 diamond formation, the former U17 World Cup winner has illustrated great proficiency at dividing his attacking and defensive responsibilities.
The 19-year-old, who has played each of Charlton’s first 14 games in the Championship, has caught the eye with his impressive performances.
Gallagher has already chipped in with 5 goals and an assist, and a role at Stamford Bridge shouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility provided the youngster continues his rich vein of form throughout the campaign.
2. Josh Cullen (Charlton)
The 23-year-old central midfielder burst onto the scene during the 2015-16 season but stiff competition for places in the West Ham squad had placed a big question mark on his future.
Cullen, who has spent time on loan at Bradford City and Bolton in the Championship and the League One in previous seasons, joined Charlton on a temporary basis this summer to have a final chance to impress his employers at West Ham. In fact, the 23-year-old’s contract at his parent club is set to expire next summer.
And he has certainly reminded the Hammers of his quality, establishing himself as a regular fixture for the Addicks in the EFL Championship.
Primarily operating on the right-hand side of Bowyer’s 4-4-2 diamond, Cullen has once again caught the eye with his energetic displays in the middle of the park, registering a goal and an assist in 13 Championship appearances.
It remains to be seen as to whether that would be enough for him to break into Manuel Pellegrini’s plans somewhere down the line.
3. Grady Diangana (West Brom)
The Baggies worked wonders with Leicester prodigy Harvey Barnes and Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle last season and it seems like they have found their next big loan star in West Ham’s Grady Diangana.
The 21-year-old, who caught the eye with several impressive cameos off the bench in the Premier League last season, was shipped out on loan this summer to gain more professional experience and the left-footed winger has certainly lived up to the expectations.
Diangana has racked up 4 goals and 3 assists in 12 EFL Championship appearances under the tutelage of Slaven Bilic, with his dazzling displays earning him two Man of the Match awards.
The youngster has definitely shown a lot of promise and a successful spell at West Brom could well go a long way towards helping him nail down a starting role at his parent club next term.