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Top Men: Championship Team of the Year

TEAMtalk's Marc Murley picks his Championship Team of the Year, including Palace duo Glenn Murray and Wilfred Zaha, plus Watford's Troy Deeney.

Last Updated: 24/05/13 at 17:08 Post Comment   

Troy Deeney: Edged out team-mate Matej Vydra in Marc's selection

Troy Deeney: Edged out team-mate Matej Vydra in Marc's selection

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The Championship has yet again proven to be one of the toughest leagues in the world. Here is Marc's pick of those players he believes have stood out above the rest in yet another pulsating campaign, and we invite you to make your selection.

You can choose any formation and there's no limit on how many players you can pick from each team - so have a think, then get involved!

Marc Murley's Championship Team of the Year (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Byram, Bridge, Morgan, Hudson; Chalobah, Zaha, Ince, Koren; Deeney, Murray.

Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)

It was a close call for the goalkeeper position. Julian Speroni yet again caught the eye this season with some fantastic shot-stopping, Brighton's Tomasz Kuszczak conceded the least goals but it was Schmeichel's consistency that made him my number one. His agility, handling and distribution have been second to none and if Leicester fail to gain promotion next season then I'm afraid Leicester will lose an extremely gifted 'keeper to the Premier League.

Sam Byram (Leeds United)

2012/13 was a forgettable season for Leeds, but 19-year-old Sam Byram stepped up to the mark and showed maturity, dedication and passion for the Whites. For what was his first season in the first team, Byram outshone the rest of his team with his performances, scoring three goals in all competitions. Credit to Neil Warnock who gave Byram his chance and the youngster certainly didn't disappoint, clearing up at the club's end-of-season awards. New boss Brian McDermott will do well to keep his starlet at the club with Manchester City, Spurs and Liverpool all lurking.

Wayne Bridge (Brighton)

Having spent the last two seasons on loan at West Ham and Sunderland respectively, the Manchester City full-back dropped down a league to join Gus Poyet at Brighton. The former England international started off in explosive fashion scoring twice in his first five games and continued to produce exceptional performances throughout this Championship season. For what is a relatively young Brighton side, Bridge's vast amount of experience helped guide Brighton to a top six finish and only missed out on a trip to Wembley after defeat to Crystal Palace in the Play-Off semi-final. At 32, I think Bridge has found his level of football but will Brighton manage to hold on to him for next season?

Wes Morgan (Leicester City)

The way Wes Morgan communicates to his team-mates on the pitch, coupled with the relationship he has with his manager Nigel Pearson, I would place 'big' Wes as my captain for this side. Having joined Leicester from Nottingham Forest in January 2012, this has been his first full season with the Foxes and what a season he has had. His professional attitude and desire to win have been key ingredients as to why he's in my team and his fellow centre-halve Michael Keane couldn't have asked for a better tutor.

Mark Hudson (Cardiff City)

Cardiff's captain has been inspirational in the Bluebirds' Championship-winning side and definitely deserves a place in my team. A lot like Wes Morgan, Hudson's winning mentality and sheer determination have left strikers with nothing but a sniff at goal. From one centre-back to another, manager Malky Mackay will know full well that having a fit Hudson will be key if they are to survive in the Premier League next season.

Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford)

The on-loan Chelsea player has had an explosive first season in professional football and has fitted in extremely well for Gianfranco Zola's Watford. He has been used as the link-up player between defence and attack and much of Watford's free flowing football this season has come through the versatile Chalobah who made his England Under-21 debut in November last year. His range of passing is incredible and is in the mould of Patrick Vieira, although some see the 18-year-old as a centre-half in years to come.

Robert Koren (Hull City)

The Slovenian international has yet again proven to be one of the best midfielders in the Championship. His nine goals have helped Hull finish second and gain automatic promotion. Koren's creativity and craftiness in or around the opposition's box causes havoc and the 32-year-old always seems to know when to play the killer ball to produce an effort on goal for a team-mate. His experience will be vital next season for Steve Bruce although with his age, he may not be at the peak of fitness required for a Premier League player.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Unfortunte not to win the Championship's Player of the Season award, Zaha's explosive pace and skill has terrorised defences all season and earned him his first international cap last year against Sweden. Although Zaha signed for Premier League champions Manchester United in January, they allowed Zaha to stay with Palace until the end of this season where his double strike against Brighton in the play-off semi-final sent the south London club to Wembley. The question is, if Palace beat Watford and head to the Premier League, will United allow him to leave again next season on-loan?

Thomas Ince (Blackpool)

Now playing under his dad, Blackpool's star player has continued to grow as a footballer. Eighteen goals and 14 assists this term is a fantastic achievement, but for a midfielder in a struggling Blackpool team it really is exceptional. He can play anywhere across the midfield and can be used as the link-up player with the striker. Father Paul firmly believes that Thomas' progress as a rising star would be well fitted with him at Bloomfield Road but surely it can't be long until Thomas makes the next step up, with Liverpool linked as favourites for the 21-year-old's signature.

Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace)

Glenn Murray was without question my number one choice as striker. To be rubbing shoulders with Europe's leading marksmen is a remarkable achievement for the 29-year-old. Although Murray is currently nursing a knee injury, Ian Holloway will be hoping he will be fit for Monday's play-off final where the Palace boss would love his striker to continue his tally.

Troy Deeney (Watford)

This may come as a surprise to you but Troy Deeney for me has been Watford's player of the season and is my choice to partner Murray up-front. A lot has been spoken about Matej Vydra, another Watford striker, who won the Championship player of the year at the Football League Awards, but Vydra (up until his wonder strike against Leicester in the play-off semi-final) had been out of form since February and wasn't playing well. Deeney started off the season in jail where he served three months of a 10-month sentence behind bars for affray. He has turned his life around and has been ever-present since re-joining the Watford team, and has been consistent, notching up 20 goals this season - only two behind Vydra.

That's my team, now pick yours!

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