Ahead of Tuesday night’s playoff final, we pick our EFL Championship team of the year for the 2019/20 season.
The last game of the longest ever English domestic season, Brentford and Fulham will duke it out at Wembley to see who will join Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League next season.
Players from all four of those teams feature heavily in our Championship XI, but who makes the final cut? The 4-1-3-2 lineup we’ve gone for is attack heavy and lacks balance, but it’s more fun this way.
The Championship team of the year for 2019/20:
GK: Marek Rodak, Fulham
It wasn’t a standout year for goalkeepers in the Championship, although that shouldn’t take anything away from Marek Rodak taking the number one spot in this team.
The Slovakian shot stopper began the season as Fulham’s number two behind Marcus Bettinelli, but after a few poor performances by the Englishman he was given a chance by Scott Parker. Ever since the EFL Cup match against Southampton in which he made six saves, he has nailed down the position for himself.
Rodak has saved just over 76% of the shots on target against him, which is the highest in the league since he came into the Fulham team. Time and again he proved a significant last line of defence, stopping numerous shots that would have otherwise been conceded by lesser ‘keepers.
His 14 clean sheets are the fifth most of any goalkeeper in the second tier, a statistic made all the more impressive when you consider he has only played 33 matches. Among goalies who have played at least half of the available minutes this season, his rate of 0.424 clean sheets per game is the top of the league.
RB: Luke Ayling, Leeds United
Like many of his teammates, Luke Ayling has taken his game to another level under Marcelo Bielsa. The Londoner is primarily a right-back, but he can also excel at centre-back or in a holding midfield role, demonstrating his versatility.
The one-time Arsenal prospect contributed four goals and four assists to Leeds’ title triumph this season, while also leading the line in the stingiest defence in the second tier. It will be interesting to see how well he does in the Premier League next season.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) April 27, 2020
CB: Ben White, Leeds United
This was the year that Ben White proved he was Premier League quality. The Brighton loanee played 100% of the available minutes for Leeds this season, becoming an integral part of Bielsa’s backline through his ability on the ball. He even scored in the side’s 4-0 victory over Charlton Athletic on the final day.
He made a strong case for being the best defender in the league, but it’s not clear where he’ll be next season just yet. The Yorkshire club clearly want him back, but the…