The Championship is home to some exceptionally bright stars and players from Sunderland, Leeds United and Leicester City are among the talents who are destined for Premier League stardom.
We’ve gone ahead and compiled a hugely talented XI of current Championship stars who we believe are a shoo-in for the top flight in the future.
For this XI, we have omitted players who have previously established themselves in the top flight. That means the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters, Crysencio Summerville and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall aren’t included as let’s face it, everyone already knows how fabulous they are.
With that being said, here’s the Championship XI that we have compiled of stars who are nailed on for Premier League glory.
GK: Mads Hermansen
Since arriving at Leicester from Brondby in the summer, Hermansen has been absolutely fantastic for the Foxes. Playing in Enzo Maresca’s possession-heavy system, the 23-year-old has all the skills you’d expect from a modern goalkeeper.
Along with his superb distribution, Hermansen is also a more than capable shot-stopper. He boasts the second-best save percentage in the league at 77 per cent and has only conceded 23 goals.
With Leicester looking like clear title favourites, we’re almost certain he will be playing in the Premier League next year.
RB: Archie Gray
Leeds United have gone and done it again. Their academy has quite the track record for producing gems and Gray is the latest prodigy coming out of Elland Road.
While he is probably at his best playing in midfield, Gray has played a large chunk of the season at right-back. The 17-year-old has a killer eye for a pass and looks like a Premier League star in the making.
“He is capable of playing in different positions because of his skills and that’s definitely great value,” Daniel Farke told reporters.
“He can play the full-back position, I think his natural position is obviously the midfield but we will see how his position develops over the next months and years.”
82nd minute of the game, Leeds holding onto a 1-0 lead with Norwich on the attack…
And 17-year-old Archie Gray just effortlessly wins the ball back and starts an attack.
— Second Tier podcast (@secondtierpod) January 25, 2024
CB: Dan Ballard
The former Arsenal academy graduate has grown an excellent reputation for himself in the EFL. After noteworthy loan spells with Blackpool and Millwall, he’s now one of Sunderland’s top stars.
Sunderland reportedly paid around £2million to land the 24-year-old last summer and it’s safe to say that his price tag will have considerably risen since that point.
The Northern Ireland international looks like he has all the makings of a Premier League star.
CB: Jacob Greaves
Hull City were wise to tie Greaves down to a long-term contract. The 23-year-old has been one of the Tigers’ most consistent performers for nearly four years now and he’s still got plenty of room to improve yet.
During the summer, Hull Live reported that Roma were keeping tabs on the defender, although Greaves himself seems to be focused on the current task of getting Hull City into the Premier League.
“Yeah, to be honest, I’m not really too fussed,” Greaves told Hull Live when asked about the speculation surrounding his future. “You see it, but then you think here we’ve got aspirations of going to the Premier League.”
LB: Trai Hume
Sunderland pulled off one of the bargain signings of the century when they landed a £150,000 deal for Hume back in 2022. Since his arrival from Linfield, the 21-year-old just keeps getting better.
Whether he’s played on the left or right-hand side, Hume has been one of Sunderland’s top performers this season. Off the ball, he is an absolute machine who has already won 100 tackles this season.
If the Black Cats do eventually decide to cash in on Hume, they will no doubt make an absolute fortune.
CM: Ben Sheaf
Speaking of tackling machines, Sheaf has been absolutely relentless for Coventry this year. The former Arsenal academy graduate has been one of the best holding midfielders in the league and he’s really stepped up in the absence of Gustavo Hamer.
Sheaf wins an average of 3.8 tackles per 90 and according to our friends at TEAMtalk, Luton Town have been sniffing around the 25-year-old of late.
CM: Gabriel Sara
Who doesn’t love a Brazilian maestro pulling the strings in the middle? That’s the role of Sara at Norwich and what a campaign the 24-year-old is currently having.
Despite Norwich themselves being quite inconsistent, Sara is often brilliant. The creative midfielder has been involved in 13 goals this season and he’s created a total of 79 chances.
We’d be shocked if he doesn’t eventually end up in the Premier League.
𝐓𝐨𝐮𝐜𝐡. 𝐒𝐰𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐥. 𝐆𝐎𝐀𝐋
What a superb bit of improvisation from @NorwichCityFC's Gabriel Sara 👏🇧🇷
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) March 4, 2023
RM: Jaden Philogene
Aston Villa allowed the 21-year-old to slip through their fingers as Philogene was desperate to play first-team football. Hull City landed his signature in the summer and what a player he has developed into since.
In just 1191 minutes of Championship football, Philogene has scored six goals and provided five assists. Although his overall impact at the MKM Stadium goes far beyond his impressive goal return.
The 21-year-old is one of the most entertaining players the Championship has to offer and it surely won’t be long until some Premier League sides come calling.
We have to give an honourable mention to Plymouth’s Morgan Whittaker too who has been absolutely ruthless this season. With 15 goals already, it won’t be long until he ends up in the top flight either.
CAM: Stephy Mavididi
We’ve had to play him out of position in order to squeeze him into this XI, but we couldn’t leave out Mavididi. Since arriving from Montpellier in the summer, he’s been an absolute game-changer for Leicester.
Formerly of Arsenal and Juventus, the 25-year-old is probably playing the best football of his career right now. With 14 goal contributions so far, we’re in no doubt that he’ll be able to make the step up to the top flight.
LM: Jack Clarke
After failing to establish himself with Tottenham, Clarke has built his career back up with Sunderland. The 23-year-old was good last season, but he’s stepped things up a gear or two this year.
He’s been the driving force behind Sunderland’s playoff push and he’s well in contention for the Golden Boot too. Given that he’s under contract until 2026, Sunderland won’t be prepared to let him leave on the cheap when Premier League clubs do come calling.
JACK CLARKE WOW! 💥💫
It goes from bad to worse for Sheffield Wednesday, they find themselves TWO goals behind in TEN minutes! 😳 pic.twitter.com/YFvxoIwTGh
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 29, 2023
ST: Georginio Rutter
Rutter played sparingly in the second half of last season, but only managed one Premier League start for Leeds. Fast forward to the 2023-24 campaign and he looks like a different beast entirely.
He’s produced 14 goal contributions so far, but the French forward is so much more than the statistics. His touch, vision and deadly drop of the shoulder make him look like a Premier League player in waiting. Watch this space.