The Championship Is Now Stacked With Elite Midfielders That Shouldn't Be There

Ward-Prowse, Hamer and Dewsbury-Hall are all currently playing for Championship clubs
15:00, 07 Aug 2023

James Maddison and Harvey Barnes may have departed Leicester City, but they showed on Sunday they possess one of the finest midfielders in the second tier as Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall scored a brace that secured them all three points in their season opener. 

The 24-year-old is a remarkable talent who is undoubtedly good enough to play in the Premier League. With two deft touches, the first a header into the far corner and the second a whip into the top corner, he took the game away from a Coventry City side who had got their tactics spot on for the majority of the 90 minutes. 

If he’s allowed to spend the season with Leicester in the Championship, he’s going to do serious damage. But he’s not the only elite midfielder that is too good to be playing second tier football this season. Gustavo Hamer for the Sky Blues has proven himself to be a class act, drawing praise from Enzo Maresca after the weekend. 


“I was working last year but at the same time when you enjoy football you watch all the competition and all of the good players, and he [Hamer] is one of the... probably the best player in the Championship.”

The Brazilian-born 26-year-old has been the shining light of an improving Coventry side over the last two years, and he almost took them all the way to the Premier League with goals in the play-off semi-final and final. Not yet fully fit, it’s not surprising that Mark Robins’ side lost control of their opening game when he went off and with just a year left on his contract Coventry are desperate to tie him down to a new deal. 

Hamer is no doubt a precocious talent, perhaps the best of the lot, but he’s got competition for that title this term as recently relegated Premier League sides retain their key men, or spend some of their parachute payments. Southampton have perhaps the most eye-catching midfielder as the best set-piece taker in the world, James Ward-Prowse, remains at the club. He showed his class in Friday night’s win over Sheffield Wednesday, and with 11 England caps to his name is certainly one of the standout names in this division this term. 

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Any Premier League side would be improved by having his technical qualities in their squad, and his free-kicks alone are worth around five goals a season. The fact he’s now playing Championship football is difficult to believe. 

Meanwhile Leeds United have gone out and splashed £7m on Ethan Ampadu, a player who at 22 already has amassed 44 Wales caps. He’s got immense quality, of that there is no doubt, and now he has the chance to prove it away from Chelsea’s loan system. Elsewhere the league is dotted with midfielders who could comfortably play in the top flight. Okay Yokuslu at West Brom is a defensive master, Matt Grimes is so comfortable on the ball and Gabriel Sara is one of the cleverest manipulators of possession in the league. 

Then you have the likes of Alex Scott, who have a little more to prove than the headline quartet, but arguably have an even higher ceiling in the Premier League. It seems bizarre that with all the money being thrown around by certain top flight clubs, these elite midfielders haven’t been targeted. 

£20m to £25m worth of investment would guarantee a club their pick of any of the above, and they’d be a surefire success. Ward-Prowse and Dewsbury-Hall have already proved their class in the Premier League, Hamer would make the step up with ease and Scott is one of the hottest prospects in the entire country. 

The second tier midfielders have never been so strong. But how many will still be there at the start of September?

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