The Players Too Good for the Championship Who Struggle in the Premier League

Aug 13, 2020, 12:30 PM GMT+1
Dwight Gayle definitely falls into this category
Dwight Gayle definitely falls into this category | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

When a player tears up the Championship year after year, it seems only logical that they'll be able to recreate their form when they make the step up to the Premier League.

While a fair few are able to adjust, some cannot. When out of their depth, they look a shadow of their former self, and suddenly it seems their Championship form must have been nothing more than a purple patch.

If they're unable to make the cut in the top division, they typically return to the Championship to resurrect their career before absolutely tearing it up again and making everyone believe that maybe, just maybe, they could cut it in the Premier League.

So, let's guide you through some of the most famous yo-yo footballers...

1. Glenn Murray

Glenn Murray
Murray has always struggled in the top fight | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Everyone loves Glenn Murray. He wears his heart on his sleeve and cannot be criticised for a lack of trying, though unfortunately that doesn't mean he's good enough for the Premier League.

After scoring 30 goals and laying on a further nine for his teammates in 2012/13, everyone thought the Crystal Palace forward would light up the top flight.

He'd manage just 14 appearances the following season, scoring once as injury disrupted his campaign.

Another brilliant Championship campaign in 2016/17 gave us hope, and decent league hauls of 12 and 13 goals for Brighton in the following two seasons showed he does have something about him.

2. Anthony Knockaert

Tricky winger Knockaert struggles outside the Championship
Tricky winger Knockaert struggles outside the Championship | Naomi Baker/Getty Images

The Frenchman was devastating in the campaign that saw Brighton gain promotion. Scoring 15 goals and providing a further nine, the winger was expected to easily make the step up.

Just five goals across the next two seasons with the Seagulls sees Knockaert firmly cemented as a player too good for the Championship but who can't cut it a league above.

He'll have another crack at the cherry with Fulham next season, mind...

3. Dwight Gayle

Gayle is the Championship
Gayle is the Championship | Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Gayle is devastating in the Championship, yet barely gets a look in at Premier League level.

After scoring 23 goals out on loan at West Brom, Newcastle fans would have expected Gayle to finally come good in the top flight.

However, his more famous exploits have come in the Championship, though he did enjoy a decent run towards the end of the 2019/20 season.

4. Matej Vydra

The Czech may suit a move back to the lower league
The Czech may suit a move back to the lower league | CLIVE BRUNSKILL/Getty Images

With 21 goals for Derby in 2017/18 and the forward entering his prime years, you can understand why Burnley snapped up Czech Republic international Vydra.

He had previously drummed up a lot of hype with some terrific spells at Watford, but ever since he moved to Turf Moor his career has been on a downward trajectory.

Two years and three goals later, it's looking like a mistake. Time for a move back down to the Championship.

5. Danny Graham

Graham failed miserably at Sunderland and Hull
Graham failed miserably at Sunderland and Hull | Stu Forster/Getty Images

After netting 12 times for newly-promoted Swansea, Graham tricked us all into thinking he could hack it in the Premier League.

It turned out, as it so often does, to be a purple patch - he would score just once in 37 appearances for Sunderland and once in 18 for Hull.

He would later return to lower leagues, eventually reclaiming his goalscoring touch at Blackburn.

6. Tomas Kalas

Tomas Kalas
Just the 487 loan spells for the Czech defender | Harry Trump/Getty Images

Here's another former Chelsea player who's spent the majority of his career so far shipped all over the place with the hope one day he might be good enough for their first-team.

After continuously impressing in the Championship, Chelsea refused to offer any hope before he was sold to Bristol City last year.

Featuring in just 50% of the Robins' matches this year, it seems Kalas has missed the Premier League train.

7. Jordan Rhodes

Jordan Rhodes
A very forgettable Premier League appearance | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

With 108 Championship goals, it seemed amazing that no Premier League team was prepared to take a chance on Rhodes.

Eventually, Middlesbrough took a punt on former Huddersfield star Rhodes, but his foray into the top flight would be a brief one.

He featured in just six games, scoring zero goals, and nowadays can be found at Sheffield Wednesday.

8. Alex Pritchard

Pritchard's yet to impress in the Premier League
Pritchard's yet to impress in the Premier League | John Early/Getty Images

Pritchard looked like a genuine star in the making during his loan spell with Brentford in the 2014/15 season, helping the Bees qualify for the playoffs.

He made just two appearances for West Brom on loan the following season, and he later failed to impress at Huddersfield after being purchased for roughly £11m following some strong showings for Norwich.

With just five goal involvements in 44 appearances over the next two seasons, it's clear Pritchard is best utilised one league below.

9. Teemu Pukki

Teemu Pukki
After a strong start, the striker fell short in the Premier League | Pool/Getty Images

Finland forward Pukki ran riot as he fired Norwich back into the Premier League.

Scoring 29 goals and providing ten assists in the 2018/19 season, he arrived in the top flight with lofty expectations.

While it would be harsh to call his debut season in the Premier League a flop, given he still scored 11 times, the majority of his strikes came at the start of the season and he went goalless after February as the Canaries finished rock bottom.

10. Tom Ince

Tom Ince was never able to recreate father Paul's success
Tom Ince was never able to recreate father Paul's success | Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Always impressive in the Championship, especially in his early years, Ince was continually linked to a host of top Premier League sides - there was even interest from Serie A giants Inter at one time.

After 48 appearances across three clubs in the top flight, in which he contributed to just four goals, it's clear Ince isn't cut out for the top level.

11. Patrick Bamford

Patrick Bamford
Will Bamford be able to rectify his dreadful Premier League record? | Michael Regan/Getty Images

There was a point where Bamford seemed destined for big things and with 17 goals for Middlesbrough aged 21, Chelsea fans started to get excited.

Now 26, the striker has played 27 times in the Premier League, managing just one goal.

With Leeds returning to the top flight next year he'll have the chance to improve his goalscoring record, but previous returns don't make him must-have Fantasy Premier League property.

12. Tommy Elphick

Tommy Elphick
Injuries hampered Elphick's Premier League campaign | John Early/Getty Images

Captaining a Bournemouth side as they won the Championship and securing Premier League football for the first time, big things were expected from centre back Elphick.

It wasn't to be. The former Brighton defender fell down the pecking order at the Vitality Stadium and made just 12 appearances during his only Premier League season to date.

He soon returned to the Championship with Aston Villa, and is now plying his trade with Huddersfield.

13. Lewis Grabban

Lewis Grabban, Tim Ream
Grabban's finding the net again in the Championship | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Despite having a brilliant goalscoring record in other divisions, Grabban flopped in the Premier League.

He scored just once in 24 appearances before returning to the Championship, reestablishing himself as a threat up front with Nottingham Forest.

14. Billy Sharp

Billy Sharp
Should Sharp have been given a chance before now? | Naomi Baker/Getty Images

A fantastic servant to the Football League, 34-year-old veteran Sharp has finally returned to top flight football following two appearances in the 2012/13 season.

Scoring only three times, however, it appears his Premier League return has come too late in the forward's career. Perhaps he deserved a chance sooner.

15. Tom Cairney

Tom Cairney
Cairney's enjoyed a brilliant season. | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The Championship veteran has always looked a cut above the division but unfortunately for Cairney, when given the opportunity he's failed to really grasp it

Now returning to the league after captaining his side through the play-offs, Cairney has another opportunity to show he deserves to be at the top.