Today the FA announced the England U21 squad to face Germany on the 16th of November.
This is a great opportunity for each of these players and shows that despite the dominance of the Premier League in high level youth development, there is still a role to be played by the Championship in this area.
Whether the parent club or acting as a surrogate the Championship acts as a competitive environment for these youngsters to learn the game and develop into established professionals. It also acts as a shop window for loan players who are talented but unlikely to be offered long term deals with their parent club.
The squad to face Germany includes the following Championship players:
Frank Fielding – Derby (on loan from Blackburn)
A much travelled and experienced goalkeeper with over 100 football league appearances under his belt spread over six different loan spells, these have gradually eased the Lancastrian towards the top flight.
He made the headlines without even playing earlier in the season when he received his first full England call up. This drew criticism as at that point he had not played any competitive football at a level higher than League One and was subsequently did not feature in the game.
If you want to watch him in the Championship you may have to hurry as this weekend’s game against Leicester may be his last as Derby number one Stephen Bywater edges towards full fitness, which would mean a return to Blackburn for Frank.
Jason Steele – Middlesborough
Age – 20
From the North West Jason Steele has come through the youth ranks to the first team at Middlesbrough via a loan spell at Northampton Town.
Highly rated by the Teesiders he has kept his place in the first team and at just 20 will excite many as he still has up to ten years of development before he will approach his peak.
Ryan Bertrand – Nottingham Forest (on loan from Chelsea)
Position: Left Back
A talented full back who has the misfortune of being at a club that includes Ashley Cole limiting his long term prospects at Chelsea. Therefore his numerous loan spells which include Reading, Norwich and now Nottingham Forest, would appear to be a shop window as well as a development tool.
He has impressed at every club he has played for in the Championship and as a converted winger, he has the ability to add an additional attacking dimension to his game, something that could not have been hurt by training with arguably the world’s best left back.
Kyle Walker – Queen’s Park Rangers (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
Position: Right Back
Another player with multiple loan moves in a fledgling career, he has made one substitute appearance in the Tottenham first team. These loan spells include an extended stay with his schoolboy club Sheffield United that yielded 25 Championship appearances last term.
Having been on the edge of the Tottenham first team, it may be that should injuries hit White Hart Lane this product of the steel city will get a chance to prove his worth at the highest level.
Jack Cork – Burnley (on loan from Chelsea)
Position: Central Midfield
Another Chelsea player farmed out on loan due to a lack of opportunities at Stamford Bridge, he has already got Premier League experience, playing for his current club Burnley who renewed his loan at the start of the season.
Having already earned the praises of the Match of the Day panel last season he is tipped to make it in the Premier League, if not at Chelsea. Only time will tell how long the creative midfielder waits to see if things will pan out for him at Chelsea.
Danny Rose – Bristol City (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
Position – Winger
Age – 20
Danny Rose had he debut that any aspiring footballer dreams about by scoring an amazing volley against his club’s bitter derby rivals in a memorable 2-1 victory, a strike which many polls placed as their goal of the season both for Tottenham and the Premier League.
He is an exciting prospect and should gain vital experience in the West Country that will be vital should he wish to get a chance to repeat the goal he scored in his only previous league start for Tottenham.
Scott Sinclair – Swansea
As I am sure the Gaffer will tell you, Scott Sinclair has been in fine form since joining Swansea from Chelsea in the summer.
After promising so much early in his career, things just did not work out for the former Bristol Rovers player who like many of the players in this list have spent much of their career on loan.
However now playing first team football he is on fire having scored 7 goals already this season, I doubt that it will be long before Sinclair will be desperate to have another crack at proving himself in the Premier League.