He makes my cut!

LIAM’S GOT IT ALL – EVEN FOR TOP FLIGHT

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - Steve Evans

FOOT­BALL is all about opin­ions and the won­der­ful thing is that in this game ev­ery­one is en­ti­tled to one. The EFL re­cently an­nounced their teams of the sea­son for the Cham­pi­onship, League One and League Two.

When I an­a­lysed each of the teams, it was dif­fi­cult to find fault, but I have se­lected a player from each league that, for me, should have been a cer­tain pick.

Let’s start with the Cham­pi­onship. The EFL team of the sea­son is: Stock­dale (Brighton), Smith (Hud­der­s­field), Jans­son (Leeds), Dunk (Brighton), Malone (Ful­ham), Shelvey (New­cas­tle), Mooy (Hud­der­s­field), Knock­aert (Brighton), Mur­ray (Brighton), Gayle (New­cas­tle) and Wood (Leeds).

En­thu­si­asm

There are a num­ber of ex­cep­tional play­ers – the likes of Tom Ince (Derby), Lee Tom­lin (Bris­tol City), Ron­aldo Vieira (Leeds) and Sone Aluko (Ful­ham) – who have not made the se­lected team but, for me, there is a stand-out ab­sen­tee.

Liam Brid­cutt (Leeds) is a Premier League player play­ing in the Cham­pi­onship. He gets around the pitch, can make great passes, gives his team a de­fen­sive shield, makes great tack­les, has en­thu­si­asm in bun­dles and is in­spi­ra­tional in a great club hav­ing a won­der­ful sea­son.

It was my plea­sure to sign him, ini­tially on loan, at El­land Road last sea­son and he was fan­tas­tic. In my opin­ion, he should have been cho­sen.

In League One, the cho­sen team is fear­some: Ri­p­ley (Old­ham), McLaugh­lin (Fleet­wood), Wheater (Bolton), Beev­ers (Bolton), Mered­ith (Brad­ford), Fleck (Sh­effield United), Oz­tumer (Wal­sall), Mor­ris (Scun­thorpe), Gre­gory (Mill­wall), Sharp (Sh­effield United) and Vaughan (Bury).

It means the likes of Char­lie Wyke (Brad­ford, exCarlisle), Matty Tay­lor (Bris­tol Rovers, now Bris­tol City) and Leonardo Da Silva Lopes (Peter­bor­ough) have not been se­lected. The lat­ter is just 18 years old and is bril­liant for one so young.

Yet one player who would be an au­to­matic choice for me is Marvin John­son (Ox­ford). He is en­joy- ing a fan­tas­tic sea­son and is sure to play Cham­pi­onship foot­ball in the fu­ture if he keeps up the qual­ity of his per­for­mance. He has su­perb tech­nique, can strike the ball with real ac­cu­racy and opens up de­fences with ap­par­ent ease. He will be one player that Coven­try will have to keep a close eye on in this af­ter­noon’s Check­a­trade Tro­phy fi­nal at Wem­b­ley. League Two also has some won­der­ful play­ers se­lected: Forde (Portsmouth), Mel­lor (Black­pool), Bradley (Ply­mouth), Burgess (Portsmouth), Stevens (Portsmouth), Potts (Black­pool), Cop­pinger (Don­caster), Carey (Ply­mouth), Mar­quis (Don­caster), God­den (Steve­nage), Watkins (Ex­eter). It shows how strong the divi­sion is when the likes of Nicky Adams (Carlisle), Luke Berry (Cam­bridge) and Tommy Rowe (Don­caster) don’t make the cut.

How­ever, there is no doubt in my mind that Luton’s Danny Hyl­ton should be there.

He is a very tal­ented lad and the dif­fer­ence in watch­ing Luton play with­out him is very, very no­tice­able. He has a good man­ager in Nathan Jones and as­sis­tant in Paul Hart teach­ing him. The lad works so hard and gets re­warded with his goals. His move­ment is ter­rific and he wants to im­prove ev­ery time he plays. Those are fan­tas­tic at­tributes to have.

Phe­nom­e­nal

As for the EFL man­agers of the sea­son, there is no doubt for me they have got these right. David Wag­ner (Hud­der­s­field, Cham­pi­onship), Uwe Rosler (Fleet­wood, League One) and Dar­ren Fer­gu­son (Don­caster, League Two) have done a fan­tas­tic job.

They also have two things in com­mon: they are at sta­ble clubs which are run by fan­tas­tic chair­men.

As for the over­all EFL Player of the Sea­son, there can only be one win­ner for me. Leeds striker Chris Wood is hav­ing a phe­nom­e­nal sea­son.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

STAND-OUT: Leeds mid­fielder Liam Brid­cutt

TECH­NIQUE: Ox­ford’s Marvin John­son

IM­PRES­SIVE: Luton striker Danny Hyl­ton

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