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The Best of the Rest – what could the Championship provide this January?

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The top defenders, according to the results of the poll, can be found at Hull City and Cardiff and come in the form of Manchester United Academy product James Chester and infrequent Scotland international Kevin McNaughton. More fitting to Alan Pardew’s Newcastle team, and particularly his signings, is James Chester. Already at Newcastle, having previously played in the Manchester United set-up, is Danny Simpson, Danny Guthrie and Gabriel Obertan.

More importantly though, is age: James Chester is just 22-years old and since hiring Carr as chief scout, the emphasis on signings has moved from big name-high wage, resulting in signings such as Kluivert and Owen, to high potential-within means wage, resulting in younger talent and more prosperous returns, such as Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote. Chester, according to John Verrall, is, ” doing one of the hardest things to do in football – proving Sir Alex Ferguson wrong,” as part of 5th best defence in the Championship.

Coming in at #1 on the 25-man shortlist, with “twice as many votes as anyone else” according to theseventytwo, was Southampton’s midfield metronome, Adam Lallana. As a Southampton fan, it came as no surprise that Lallana won it, even with bias. They say that “form is temporary” whilst, “class is permanent” and that can be justified when it comes to Southampton’s #20. His campaign has been good and productive, granted: however, with his 6 goals and 7 assists aside,  it is fair to say his performances this season have been subject to purple patches. Furthermore, while it may be unfair and indeed unjust to say that at times he has gone unnoticed, his impact has sometimes been stunted.

However, his moments of brilliance stand as a testament to his class: the shimmy at Leicester to send Pantsil to the floor; his cross to Lambert which, having been delicately cushioned saw Guly stab home against Hull, before scoring the 2nd to complete a turnaround against Hull at St. Marys and finally his exquisite turn and teasing run against Portsmouth live on television. Luckily for Southampton, he won’t be leaving, “‘I can understand why Premier League teams might be looking at our players but we would not welcome any interest,” said Saints boss Nigel Adkins, ‘‘we have got a group of players here who are all under long-term contracts and they want to get this fantastic club back into the Premier League.”

The list is not only a healthy test of one’s Football League knowledge, but a great resource and guide to any budding football experts and can be found here. Some stand out performers include the lethal Nicky Maynard and equally dangerous Billy Sharp, whilst the list also includes some of the obvious candidates for the accolade, such as West Ham’s Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble, who finished 2nd.

Two goalkeepers made the list: Leicester’s shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel and Lee Camp, who came in at 5th place. There was no room for the two most expensive summer signings though, as Matthew Mills and Jermaine Beckford failed to record a place in the top 25, whilst teammates Andy King and Schmeichel did.

Written by Jordan Florit for www.maycauseoffence.com/  For more articles like this visit my website or my Twitter @JordanFlorit

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Budding Football journalist who blogs at www.maycauseoffence.com/ daily as well as writing here for ThisisFutbol and on www.onehellofabeating.com/ the England fan's page. Outside of writing is more football. I work at Southampton F.C and I manage a men's football team on Saturdays.

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