The EFL Championship has bred some of the best young talents, not only in England, but world football too. With the current crop of young players only further proving this. Here is some of the best prospects in the league who look destined for a Premier League move.
One of the standout performers, not only for his club, but also in the whole division is Sunderland's Jack Clarke. Clarke broke onto the scene with Leeds, where he'd progressed through their youth ranks, before joining Spurs in January of 2020. However he failed to make a single Premier League appearance and loans to QPR and Stoke City failed to see him hit the heights he was tipped to reach. However a loan to Sunderland that was made permanent in July 2022 has allowed his career to flourish. He helped guide them to promotion from League One and now they're a team fighting for promotion back to the Premier League. Last season he recorded 9 goals and 12 assists, and this season he's already netted 13 times. He is a direct and pacy winger who loves to take on defenders. A move to the Premier League seems inevitable, with Brentford and West Ham being two potential destinations, however I believe there'll be a host of clubs looking to secure his signature come the summer if he doesn't move this window.
Watford have produced some fantastic young players in recent years, like Richarlison, Sarr and Joao Pedro, and they my well have another exciting prospect on their hands. Yaser Asprilla only joined from Envigado FC in January of 2022, from his native Colombia, before returning to the club on loan. His first full season with the Hornets was last season, and it was a breakout year for the young winger, recording 39 appearances across all competitions. This year, at only 20 years of age, he's accumulated 8 goal contributions (4 goals and 4 assists) at the half-way point of the Championship season. He has also already featured 3 times for the Colombian national side, and he scored his first international goal against Guatemala. His development is progressing exponentially at Watford, so although it may be a little early, a Premier League move is only a matter of time, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a plethora of clubs fighting to acquire this prodigy.
One player already linked to top Premier League sides, is the 21 year-old, English midfielder Hayden Hackney. He currently plays his football for Middlesborough, where he has risen through their youth set-up. Hackney made his professional debut on loan at Scunthorpe United in the 21/22 season, making 31 appearances, which earned him a place in the first team for Middlesborough the following season. Under the mentorship of manager Michael Carrick, he's developed into a complete midfielder that has become one of the first names on the team sheet, and led to him being reportedly scouted by top English clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool. If he continues the trajectory he's on currently, he will not only become a top player at club level, but also potentially internationally for England, already featuring for the u21 side. However, he's also eligible for the Scottish national team, a potential factor to look out for. Where do you think he'll end up, let us know all your predictions in the comments below.
One of the most exciting young players currently in the Championship is Plymouth's Morgan Whittaker. The left-footed winger has become a pivotal member of this Plymouth side since his first stint at the club, in their promotion winning season fro League One in 22/23. He joined the club on loan in July of 2002, with him going on to have 16 goal involvements in 25 appearances in the league, before being recalled by parent club Swansea in January of that season. Despite this impressive form, he only went onto start 2 matches for Swansea for the remainder of the season. Upon Plymouth's promotion to the Championship, they secured the signing of Whittaker permanently, and he picked up where he left off. This season he's scored 14 goals, joint 2nd in the league, and his total goal involvements of 19 also sees him joint 2nd for this too. Therefore it's little surprise to see clubs like Brentford reportedly looking to snap up this kid. Plymouth will be reluctant to allow him to leave this window, after losing countless players to recalls by their parent clubs. However a hefty bid may force Plymouth's hand.
One player who will undoubtedly be playing Premier League football within the next couple seasons, whether with his current club or another one, is Leeds United's Archie Gray. At only 17 years old, this is certainly Gray's breakout season, already making 28 appearances this season, of which, 26 were starts! He is mainly deployed as a midfielder, however he has also featured at right-back, highlighting his adaptability, and he has shone wherever he's been selected. He has also added an assist to this incredible debut year. Leeds look to return to the Premier League after their relegation last season, while currently sitting 4th at the time of writing, it would be a surprise to not see them back in the top-flight within the next couple years. Whether Gray will still be a part of the team then is yet to be seen, as Liverpool are reportedly huge admirers of him. Either way, I believe he will be a Premier League player.
When you hear the name Bellingham, you'd be forgiven for thinking of Jude, however his brother Jobe is currently forging a name for himself at Sunderland. Jobe too made his debut for Birmingham City, where he made a total of 26 appearances, before moving to Sunderland last summer for a reported fee of £3 million. This season he's become a first team regular, starting 25 matches, scoring 4 times. He has big expectations to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, but is handling such pressure incredibly. He would be a smart accquistion for most Premier League clubs, and the likes of Everton and Chelsea are linked. Jude's Real Madrid have also been reported to be keeping an eye on Jobe. Could we see the Bellingham brothers link-up at Los Blancos?
One player who's started this Championship season with a bang is Norwich's Jonathan Rowe. Rowe caught the attention of many when he scored consecutively in Norwich's first 4 league matches, 5 goals in 5 matches when including the Carabao Cup too, winning the EFL Young Player of the Month for August. He has now recorded 13 goals across all competitions, and he currently ranks joint 6th in the Championship for total goal involvements, with 13. He has been a star in a struggling Norwich team, who currently sit 11th. Rowe is an exciting winger with a lot of flair and an eye for goal, and would be a good fit for a lot of Premier League teams, with Brentford, West Ham and Tottenham interested. Norwich have a history of selling their top talents so a departure away would not be a surprise. He will be an exciting player to watch wherever he ends up.