Who Will Be in the Championship Team of the Season 2014-15?

The PFA Player of the Year Awards are almost upon us. In a season that has seen the always competitive Championship at its most unpredictable, predicting its Team of the Season is far from straightforward; nevertheless, having assessed the contenders, I shall attempt to pick out and justify a worthy eleven.

Goalkeeper: Artur Boruc (Bournemouth)

The ‘holy goalie’ will be praying his excellent form continues, as the Cherries close in on a first ever promotion to the top flight. The former Celtic custodian has had a very consistent season, marginally edging out the miserly Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday) and Middlesbrough’s impressive collection of solid stoppers.

Right back: Simon Francis (Bournemouth)

We stay on the South Coast for our right-back, with Simon Francis an integral part of Bournemouth’s play – both defensively and offensively. His link-up with winger Matt Ritchie has caused no end of trouble for opposing teams all season long. Losing out to Francis for the position is Steven Whittaker (Norwich City) who, similarly, offers as much going forward as in defence.

Centre backs: Tom Lees (Sheffield Wednesday) and Tommy Elphick (Bournemouth)

Two Toms at the back, with Lees’ defensive ability appreciated by Wednesdayites certainly ready to overlook his Leeds past. The much-improved Elphick pips club colleague and captain Steve Cook, while there’s an honourable mention for Ben Gibson, youngest member of Middlesbrough’s stingy backline.

Left back: George Friend (Middlesbrough)

Mirroring Francis on the right, Friend’s forward forays have been a crucial element in Middlesbrough’s play this year. At the same time, his defensive work has been just as one would expect from the meanest defence in the league. Friend pinches the slot just ahead of Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels.

Right midfield/wing: Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth)

Our fourth Cherry is the linking livewire Ritchie, who tops the table for goal assists this season and has hit double figures for his own goal tally to boot. His partnership with Francis has been a feature of Bournemouth’s best work all season. Team-mate Marc Pugh is the player to miss out in favour of the recent Scottish cap.

Centre midfield: Will Hughes (Derby) and Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough)

The almost impossible task of selecting only two players from a plethora of worthy contenders sees Derby’s precocious talent Hughes link up with the ever-dependable Leadbitter from Boro. Hughes, whose maturity in possession and eye for a pass belie his tender years, will surely not remain a Championship player for long, irrespective of his team’s ultimate destiny this season. He grabs the creative central position ahead of the creative Alan Judge, who has enjoyed an excellent season at Brentford. The grafting and effective Leadbitter has kept Boro ticking, and provides the perfect complement to Hughes, marginally edging out Harry Arter (Bournemouth) and Norwich’s long-shot specialist Bradley Johnson. An honourable mention is reserved for the much-improved Toumani Diagouraga, Judge’s defensive midfield team-mate for the Bees.

Left mid-field/wing/attack: Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough)

Almost the go-to man for Middlesbrough this season in attack, Bamford’s goals have been frequent and priceless, with the occasionally sensational strike thrown in. Middlesbrough will be hoping to keep hold of the Chelsea loanee, but will probably need to be playing Premier League football next season in order to do so.

Strikers: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) and Troy Deeney (Watford)

Fifth of a quintet of Cherries, Wilson has proved a more than adequate replacement for last season’s top scorer, Lewis Grabban. Despite his searing pace and intelligent link-up play, his hatful of goals still falls some way short of league top scorer Daryl Murphy, Ipswich’s target man, who may consider himself somewhat unfortunate to miss out on a place in the eleven. The same could be said of the Derby talisman Chris Martin, for whom injury at a crucial time limited his impact on the goalscoring charts, as well as his team’s fortunes. Nevertheless, the final place in the team is awarded to the slightly more prolific of Watford’s unstoppable front line: Troy Deeney. Fast becoming a complete centre-forward, Deeney’s sharpness, aerial strength and finishing ability see him sneak in ahead of Murphy, Martin, and his almost equally prolific Hornet team-mate, Odion Ighalo.

To recap, then, my team is:

Boruc (Bournemouth), Francis (Bournemouth), Lees (Sheffield Wednesday), Elphick (Bournemouth), Friend (Middlesbrough), Ritchie (Bournemouth), Hughes (Derby County), Leadbitter (Middlesbrough), Bamford (Middlesbrough), Wilson (Bournemouth), Deeney (Watford)

Look out for the awards ceremony on 24 April to see how many of my picks made the XI!

How about you? Who would you choose? Leave a comment below!

Source by James Orme

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