90min's Championship Team of the Season 2019/20

Jul 23, 2020, 6:16 PM GMT+1
Said Benrahma, Ollie Watkins
Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins have been instrumental in Brentford's end-of-season promotion push | Alex Pantling/Getty Images
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If the coronavirus hadn't already made this Championship season particularly 'memorable', the action and drama we've seen on the pitch would certainly have been enough for 2019/20 to live long in the memory of football fans.

Leeds finally overcame their promotion hoodoo, no team had been relegated ahead of the final round of fixtures - with ten clubs facing the drop - and Nottingham Forest somehow managed not to make the play-offs, despite having kicked off their final game against lowly Stoke City with a three point and five goal advantage over seventh-placed Swansea City. And breathe.

It's certainly not been a campaign that we'll forget in a hurry (not if Leeds fans have anything to do with it anyway).

So, with the dust beginning to settle and another rollercoaster 46-game season drawn to a close, let's take a look at 90min's Championship Team of the Season

1. Brice Samba (GK)

Brice Samba
The signing of Samba has been a huge part of Forest's progression this season | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

The emergence of Brice Samba in the Forest side has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of what can still be reflected on as a relatively successful campaign (despite bottling their place in the play-offs).

Having signed from Caen in the summer, the Frenchman kicked off the season as deputy to Manchester City loanee Arijanet Muric, though he soon managed to force his way into the starting XI.

He's been an ever-present since being handed the number one spot, and his commanding style of play has brought a sense of composure to the Forest backline. At just 26 he still has his best years ahead of him, and he could prove to be a valuable asset for the club.

2. Matty Cash (RB)

Cardiff City v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship
Cash's performances have seen him attract the interest of AC Milan | Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Few expected Matty Cash to be linked with AC Milan in the January transfer window, though the right-back has confirmed he held discussions with the club.

The 22-year-old has been experimented in a number of positions, though his switch to right-back has seen him produce the best football of his career, offering a threat down the Forest right and looking solid defensively.

Whether the Serie A giants reignite their interest in the youngster remains to be seen, though if Cash continues playing like he has this year, it's hard to see him staying at the City Ground for too much longer.

3. Ben White (CB)

Ben White
White capped a stunning season off with an emphatic strike on the final day | Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Many things have contributed to Leeds finally achieving promotion back to the Premier League after 16 years away - though this young man is perhaps the main factor.

White signed for Leeds last summer, tasked with filling the boots of departed fans' favourite Pontus Jansson, despite having never played a game at a level higher than League One.

The defender has been immense for Marcelo Bielsa, not only looking solid defensively but also proving he's got the ability to play out from the back and step into midfield when required.

If Bielsa hopes to sign the 22-year-old Brighton loanee on a permanent basis, it's going to take a substantial fee, with numerous Premier League vultures already beginning to circle.

4. Tim Ream (CB)

Tim Ream
The big centre-back has enjoyed a great campaign at the back for the Cottagers | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

While Fulham will consider their campaign a disappointment should they fail to achieve promotion via the play-offs, they've managed to stop shipping goals like they were in the Premier League, and that's largely down to this man.

The American has had to deal with Scott Parker's constant rotation - something which has definitely had an impact on the club's progress this season - yet has been a solid performer regardless of who has been beside him.

With some prolific goalscorers in the sides Fulham are set to face in the play-offs, Ream will be key to Parker's chances of promotion.

5. Joe Bryan (LB)

Joe Bryan
Fulham fell short of automatic promotion, though Bryan will be vital to their play-off hopes | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

A huge part of Fulham's play is their full-backs, and they've got the perfect man for the job in Joe Bryan.

The Cottagers have built a side full of pace and attacking endeavour in the wide areas, as they look to feed main man Aleksandar Mitrovic whenever possible, and that's exactly what Bryan does.

The flying left-back has notched seven league assists this season and has made huge improvements on the defensive side of his game.

6. Matheus Pereira (RM)

Matheus Pereira
Pereira has been key to West Brom's promotion push | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Eight goals and seventeen assist in the league this season tells you just about everything you need to know about Matheus Pereira.

An injury to Grady Diangana threatened to derail West Brom's promotion tilt before lockdown as they lost one of their biggest attacking threats, though Pereira stepped up and delivered the goods.

The Brazilian's loan deal at The Hawthorns included a clause which would see West Brom obliged to purchase the youngster should he reach a certain amount of appearances for the club - needless to say he's long surpassed that checkpoint and will be playing in the Premier League next season.

7. Kalvin Phillips (CDM)

Kalvin Phillips
Phillip has been at the heart of Leeds' triumphant campaign | George Wood/Getty Images

16 years away from the Premier League has been tough, and no-one has suffered more than this man.

Local lad Kalvin Phillips had to experience the agony of play-off elimination at the hands of Derby County last year, so to pick himself up and go again this year is a true reflection of the midfielder's character.

He's been instrumental in the Leeds midfield, doing the dirty work that allows the likes of Jack Harrison and Pablo Hernandez to express themselves, while showing he's far more than just a combative midfielder when with the ball at his feet.

No-one will have celebrated promotion as much as this man, and he thoroughly deserves it.

8. Ebere Eze (CAM)

Ebere Eze
Eze's loan move to QPR has proven to be a huge success | Alex Morton/Getty Images

Queens Park Rangers have been a shambles defensively this season, and they have their attacking players to thank for steering them clear of any relegation worries - in particular this man.

Ebere Eze has been on fire this season, both scoring and providing for his teammates, as QPR notched 67 goals in 46 games - three more than Fulham who finished nine places above them.

The 22-year-old's quick feet and turn of pace have bamboozled Championship defenders all season, finishing the campaign with an impressive 14 goals to his name from midfield.

9. Said Benrahma (LM)

Said Benrahma
Benrahma has been one of the best players in the league for the past two seasons | David Rogers/Getty Images

Said Benrahma's performance levels haven't dropped since he arrived at Brentford two years ago.

He was a huge factor in the club's incredible form post-lockdown, notching seven goals in six games to propel Brentford to within touching distance of automatic promotion.

They ultimately didn't have enough to secure a place in the top two and will have to make do with a place in the play-offs, though with 17-goal man Benrahma in their side, they'll prove a tough team to beat.

10. Ollie Watkins (CF)

Ollie Watkins
Watkins is rumoured to be on the wishlist of a number of Premier League clubs | Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Another of the Bees' deadly frontline.

Ollie Watkins was plucked from League Two side Exeter City in 2017 and has proven to be another emphatic hit at Brentford.

After two solid seasons at the club - bagging ten goals in both of his first two years - the frontman has exploded into life this campaign, narrowly missing out on the Championship top scorer gong with 25 goals.

Far from just a goalscorer, Watkins' all-round play is a key part of Brentford's system, regularly acting as a foil for the club's flying wide men.

11. Aleksandar Mitrovic (ST)

Aleksandar Mitrovic
The former Newcastle striker finished the season as the league's topscorer | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Now to the man who pipped Watkins to the aforementioned top scorer prize.

Eyebrows were raised when the Serbia international decided to stay at Craven Cottage - despite Fulham dropping into the second tier - and as expected he's proven to be way too good for the league.

26 goals this season haven't been enough to see Parker's men over the line, though they face Cardiff City in the play-offs and will be in with a real chance if the former Newcastle man is firing on all cylinders.

12. Marcelo Bielsa (Manager)

Marcelo Bielsa
Bielsa has steered Leeds to promotion | Michael Regan/Getty Images

A few managers have done fantastically this season, but in fairness there's no looking past this man.

Finally, the 16 years of hurt are over and Leeds United are back in the big time.

There was much speculation surrounding Marcelo Bielsa's future at Elland Road in the summer, with reports suggesting the Argentinian taskmaster was only prepared to spend one more season in the second tier - well, that's all he needed.

Leeds were superb this campaign, showing the mental strength to bounce back after numerous rocky spells.

The Whites squad is of course one of (if not the) most talented in the division, though in a league as unforgiving as the Championship, that doesn't always guarantee you success.

Well played Marcelo. Well played.

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