Tuesday, 19 April 2011

11 Of The Best From The Second Tier

Yesterday i looked at the PFA Premiership Team of the Year, and today i want to look at the Championship one. I actually agree quite a few of the decisions, but i'll give my justifications for why i agree with them.

Lee Camp (PFA chose Paddy Kenny) - It's a close one and i have huge respect for Paddy Kenny, plus the championship seems to have quite a few extremely talented goalkeepers (Westwood at Coventry, Speroni at Palace and De Vries at Swansea are three good examples), but my choice in goal would have to be Lee Camp. Now i'm sure some people will accuse me of bias here, perhaps with some degree of accuracy, but Camp is one of the most consistent goal keepers i've ever watched and THE best shot stopper i've seen at Forest or anywhere in the Championship. I've lost count of the amount of times he's saved a shot i was certain was going in.

Kyle Naughton (Same) - He's been on loan at Leicester from Tottenham and in a lot of games that quality has shone through. He's a solid defender but it's what he offers going forward with his pace and quality that make him really stand out (5 goals from right back for a player who isn't a major aeriel threat is very impressive and a couple of those, especially the one against Coventry, were stunning goals.)

Luke Chambers (Wes Morgan) - Now i agree that one of Forest's centre back pairing should be in this team as, at least until the last month, our success in the league had been based upon just how tight our defence was and Morgan and Chambers are a major factor in that, along with Camp. The PFA picked Morgan and there's not much in it, but i would actually say Chambers has been marginally better this season; he has a very good habit of getting last ditch tackles and blocks in. He's had to wait for his chance this year, having often been played in his less favoured position of right back, but i think he's taken it well.

Ashley Williams (Same) - The Swansea defender has impressed me every time i've seen him play; big and strong but with a decent ability to distribute the ball once he's won it. The only black mark against his name for me is that when i think of him i can't help but think of the bad luck/mistakes that have led to him scoring as many own goals as he's scored goals for Swansea this year (3, with the own goal against Derby being particularly farcical.)

Ian Harte (Same) - The 33 year old Reading, and former Leeds, Left back has re-established himself as one of the most effective wing backs in the country. I always rated him while he was at Leeds during their successful period and he's definitely showing some of that form now he's at promotion chasing Reading. His biggest asset is his free kicks, they're devastating and remind me on occasion of another left back who chipped in with his fair share of goals, Stuart Pearce. 10 goals from left back is a very useful contribution.

Adel Taarabt (Same) - There's been plenty written about the Morrocan play maker, often gushing praise, often highly deserved. His temperament has been questioned before and i suspect will be again but in terms of pure footballing talent he has no equal in the Championship. A player i suspect only just missed out on the PFA team from Forest, Lewis Mcgugan (who for a while seemed to be attempting to have a two man goal of the season competition with Taarabt) is on his day arguably close, but he's been quieter in the second half of this season while the QPR man has continued to be crucial to their title challenge.

Scott Sinclair (Same) - I've watched Sinclair play a few times this season and one of the main thoughts that strikes me every time is that he is almost unfairly quick, especially when you consider that he can keep the ball under such tight control while running at full pace. He's another player whose form has dropped off in the past few weeks but for the large majority of the season he's been terrifying any defence he's played against and he's responsible for some of the goals of the season.

Andy King (Same) - The Leicester City central midfielder lacks some of the flair of the other men in this midfield but his comparative subtlety belies a real talent. He's the driving force in Leicester's midfield, leading the club's goal scoring chart with 14 in the league and it wouldn't surprise me if he is near the top in terms of assists as well.

Wes Hoolahan (Same) - Hoolahan has one of the sweetest left foots in England, let alone the Championship and so far as passing and build up play are concerned in my opinion there's few better.

Danny Graham (Same) - In a Watford team that's been hamstrung by it's own inconsistency Graham has scored impressively regularly, leading the Championship golden boot race and enjoying the best season of his career.

Grant Holt (Dave Nugent) - Nugent's selection baffled me a little here; he's undoubtedly a good striker but there are plenty i'd list above him in terms of both goal scoring exploits and team play (Becchio at Leeds, Bothroyd at Cardiff, Morrison at Milwall and especially Shane Long at Reading who's in the form of his life right now) but i think any team of the year has to include Grant Holt. His presence here annoys me a little, purely because he was at Forest for a while but used so poorly by Colin Calderwood that we never got to see just how good he can be; instead he dropped down a few leagues to Shrewsbury, then went to Norwich and has worked his way up scoring 64 goals in 120 performances for those two teams. He also works hard for the team and is involved in a lot of Norwich's best moves so how Nugent was picked ahead of him i don't know.

Today's song is a random choice, but it's a song i ended up listening to for the first time in ages when it popped into my head quite randomly earlier on, it's 'Man of Constant Sorrow' by the 'Soggy Bottom Boys', the band from the Coen Brother's film, 'O Brother, Where Art Thou'.

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