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10 Apr 2018

The Championship: Who was overlooked for the Player of the Year award?

The Championship: Who was overlooked for the Player of the
Year award?

With the finalists for the EFL's end of season awards now confirmed, who was unlucky to miss out?

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Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

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Matej Vydra (Derby County)

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Martyn Waghorn (Ipswich Town)

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James Maddison (Norwich City)

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A year of the youngsters

(Photo credit: Nick)

With only five full rounds of matches left in the Championship season, there is still much left to be decided.

Will Sunderland pull off a miracle and avoid back-to-back relegations? Will Derby County throw away a chance at the play-offs? Will Wolverhampton Wanderers break the 100-points barrier?

England's second tier is never short of stand-out performers over such an arduous campaign, and the 2017/18 season has been no different.

Fulham's Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon have been named alongside Wolves' Ruben Neves as the three finalists to scoop the accolade. 

But who missed out on the award?

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Wolves have been the pace-setters for the division for the vast majority of the season. 

After acquiring the club back in July 2016, Fosun International cranked things up a notch in the summer after a disappointing season last time out. Jeff Shi was appointed as the club's executive chairman, and the move sparked mass change at Molineux. Former FC Porto boss Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed as manager and an influx of talent from the continent followed him.

Diogo Jota (who was brought in on loan from Atletico Madrid), alongside other newcomers Ruben Neves and Leo Bonatini, has set the Championship alight this season. His 14 goals so far this campaign are good enough to put him joint-fifth in the goal-scoring charts. The Portuguese also has five assists.

The modern game often cries out for a winger who loves to run at full-backs for fun and the 21-year-old does just that. His performances this season have contributed to a Wolves attack that has transformed the division - a real contender.

Matej Vydra (Derby County)

If there was ever a journeyman of England's second tier...

Vydra's name has almost become synonymous with the Championship and is the type of player that any promotion-chasing side would love to have in their ranks.

The Czech international enjoyed two separate fruitful spells at Watford, scoring over 35 goals for the club over both periods. He's no stranger to the award, having won it back in the 2012/13 season when with the Hornets. 

These two stints sandwiched a relatively barren patch in the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion, which preceded an equally disappointing time at Reading. 

After securing a move to Derby two seasons ago, Vydra has finally returned to the form he is capable of, and currently leads the goalscoring charts with 19 strikes, two clear of Bristol City's Bobby Reid. 

If Derby are to retain their play-off spot, they'll need to keep Vydra firing. Could he be the man to take the Rams back to the top-flight?

Martyn Waghorn (Ipswich Town)

Of all the names in this list, Waghorn probably has the hardest job of them all given his side's modest league position.

Ipswich currently find themselves in mid-table and having lost four of their last five. However Waghorn's contributions to his side this season may well have prevented that position being even lower.

Following his move from Scottish Premiership side Rangers in the summer, the forward hit the ground running, scoring the winner in his league debut as Ipswich edged a 2-1 win over Barnsley. Waghorn currently has 14 goals and eight assists, which, combined, are numbers good enough for joint-top of the charts. 

Ipswich's downturn in form though, which has seen them win only four of their last 15, will likely be a black mark against Waghorn's name in his bid to win the award. Nevertheless, the ex-Leicester man has been a bright spark. 

James Maddison (Norwich City)

If not the Player of the Year, then Maddison's name is surely already engraved on the young player of the year trophy. 

As far a real 'breakout' seasons go, the 21-year-old has had a very, very good one. He has 14 goals, eight assists and sits level with the aforementioned Waghorn atop the list of these combined numbers.

After enduring a couple of loan spells out to Coventry City and Aberdeen, Maddison finally got his chance at the beginning of this season and hasn't looked back since. He also received his first call-up to the England under-21 squad in November and has since made three appearances for the Young Lions.

A bright future ahead, surely.

A year of the youngsters

While these players were perhaps unlucky to miss out on the award this time around, the three official finalists will be hoping to take home the trophy on Sunday night. 

Tom Cairney, 27, is the oldest player to be considered for the award and will battle it out with Ryan Sessegnon, 17, and Ruben Neves, 21, who have both been also nominated for the young player of the year award.

Norwich's Maddison makes up the trio for the junior accolade.

Who do you think should win the Championship's player of the year award? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.