For the first time since 2015 the Championship Player of the Season was awarded to a player who didn’t achieve promotion.
In truth, despite finding himself on the losing side of the second-tier’s Blue Riband event at Wembley, it’s difficult to argue that Brentford’s Ollie Watkins isn’t worthy of the gong - having bagged 25 league goals in the regular season.
However, the 2019/20 Championship alumni were strewn with quality performers, many of whom either achieved promotion back to the Premier League or have secured subsequent moves to the top flight.
So, with this in mind, 90min takes a look at the players who can perhaps feel a little aggrieved not to have been named the best player in the second tier and pick five alternative winners.
1. Eberechi Eze
It’s no surprise to see Eberechi Eze on the wish list of a whole host of Premier League clubs this summer.
The youngster enjoyed a stellar campaign with Queens Park Rangers, and who knows how much closer to the drop they would have been without his 14 goals and eight assists.
Eze’s direct and powerful running was too much to handle for a lot of Championship defences last season, with his incredible solo goal at Stoke City a particular highlight.
Crystal Palace have been hotly tipped to land the 22-year-old, and the move makes a lot of sense. With Palace’s strikers struggling for goals, Eze proved last season that his linkup play with a commanding centre forward can bring goals, with Jordan Hugill recording his most prolific season to date.
The QPR man can feel thoroughly hard done by to not have more to show than a mid-table finish from a scintillating season.
2. Ben White
Having struggled defensively for years, Leeds brought in a young man who had never played at a level higher than League One as they sought to replace the outgoing Pontus Jansson. To say Ben White delivered the goods would be an understatement.
The youngster was a colossus at the back for Leeds all year, not missing a single game as the club finally achieved promotion back to the Premier League.
Leeds would concede just 42 goals in the 2019/20 Championship season, with a run of five clean sheets steadying the ship after the wheels began to fall off following two wins from 11, and White was the man at the heart of it all.
The 22-year-old is being closely monitored by a number of Premier League clubs, and after the season he’s had it’s not hard to see why.
3. Saïd Benrahma
While it’s tough to argue that Watkins wasn’t worthy of the Player of the Season award, it could also be argued that he wasn’t even Brentford’s best player last campaign.
The frontman also picked up the Players’ Player of the Year award at the club’s end-of-season award ceremony, however, it was teammate Saïd Benrahma who was voted the Supporters’ Player of the Year, and the Algerian could make a solid case for being the best player in the 2019/20 Championship.
17 goals and nine assists helped propel the Bees to within one win of a place in the Premier League, only for them to crumble on the big occasion.
Nonetheless, Benrahma’s highlight reel from last season is a joy to behold, with the 25-year-old terrorising right-backs all season long, as well as scoring more than a fair few beauties.
4. Aleksandar Mitrović
The only man to score more than Watkins in the regular season.
Aleksandar Mitrović ended the 46-game campaign on 26 goals - one ahead of Watkins - with both strikers grabbing themselves three assists.
However, while Brentford’s flying wingers Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo were providing Watkins with quality service all season, Fulham’s Anthony Knockaert and Ivan Cavaleiro weren’t nearly as successful - meaning Mitrović had far more work to do than the Bees forward.
With this in mind and with Mitrović now a Premier League player again, it’s tough to see what more the Serbia international would have had to do to be named Player of the Season.
5. Matheus Pereira
Matheus Pereira’s 16 assists see him sat well ahead of any other player in the creativity charts, while his eight goals from midfield aren’t bad either.
West Bromwich Albion took no time at all in exercising their option to buy the Brazilian on a permanent basis after a brilliant first season in English football.
At just 24 the former Sporting CP man still has time to improve, but on the basis of last season's performances the Baggies have got themselves a superb player.
The youngster has just about every fancy trick and flick known to man in his repertoire, along with a wand of a left foot which produced more than a few moments of brilliance throughout the season.
Source : 90min