Bolton’s reported pursuit of Swansea midfielder Ferrie Bodde got me thinking. Premier League managers have become hesitant to dip into the lower leagues over the years but anyone who follows Championship football will know there are a couple of gems out there who could indeed make the step up.
Here is a list of five players I think could make the grade if given the chance.
Joe Ledley, Cardiff
It may be Ledley’s team-mate Roger Johnson who is attracting the interest of Premier League sides but Ledley is a player who could also make the step up. The 22-year-old Welsh international is a clever player with a lot of creativity and a decent shot on him. The talented midfielder has courted interest from the Premier League before and it could be hard for Cardiff to hang on to him if they’re not promoted next season, or indeed if he decides to leave this summer.
Kyle Naughton, Sheffield United
The Blades’ 20-year-old right-back has reportedly already been the target for Everton who have apparently seen a £5million bid turned down by Sheffield United. Naughton only established himself in the Blades team last season but has already proved his worth at Championship level. He is a great attacking right-back but there are questions over his ability to defend, though Glen Johnson seems to get away with that so Naughton should be all right. It looks fairly likely he will be at Bramall Lane next season but I would imagine Naughton will make the step-up at some point in his career.
Matthew Mills, Doncaster Rovers
Another South Yorkshire based defender who received rave reviews in Donny’s debut Championship season. Mills is a very assured, no nonsense defender who is also pretty quick and good in the air. At 22 he still has plenty of time to improve and it wouldn’t surprise me if the former England under-21 international graced the Premier League in the near future.
Fabian Delph, Leeds United
Delph currently plays in League One with fallen giants Leeds United but I think it is safe to say he will play at a higher level in the very near future, be that with Leeds or someone else. The 19-year-old has already attracted plenty of attention and Leeds reportedly value him at somewhere between £5million and £10million. He is a box to box midfielder with bags of pace, an excellent sense of positioning and awareness and a pretty decent shot as well.
Jonathan Walters, Ipswich Town
At 25 Walters is the oldest player in this list and if he is to make the step-up it will have to come soon for the Tractor boys striker. The former Blackburn trainee also plays on the wing, which perhaps accounts for his low goal-tally last season, and is an integral part of the Ipswich team. Walters covers so much ground during a match and also gets involved in defensive duties, showing he has a great work ethic and commitment to the team. I feel he could comfortably adapt to the rigours of Premier League football personally and it remains to be seen whether a top-flight manager will take a gamble on him.
If you disagree or if you think I’ve missed a few names out along the way so feel free to add your suggestions in the comments box, I’m also interested to know if anyone can think of any League Two players who could make the grade.
Also Read: Eight Future Stars In English Football.