Here's a look at some of the best Championship players over 30
So, we are at the start of the new Championship season and this seems a good time to discuss some of the potential star performers. The idea of this piece is to go through the data from last season, along with opinion and analysis to come up with the best players over 30 in the league.
I know some people may feel that last season has little to do with this season. Of course, we have taken that view on board. However, the players mentioned here are very established and we feel that they will again be on their game this season. It’s also important to note that they have been very consistent over several seasons previously.
A lot of discussion in modern-day football focuses on all the young talent and athleticism. The players coming up may not fit that – but it’s interesting that they still play such vital roles for their clubs. In fact, even when they don’t play – the role they play in the dressing room is so paramount to the development of younger players. So, here’s to not chucking a player out once they turn 30 – and let’s celebrate what they have to offer.
So, now we have that out of the way – let’s get stuck into the choices…
1. Yann Kermorgant (Reading)
I have spoken a bit about Reading in recent articles and how they may struggle to match their performance from last season. There have also been departures over the summer such as key midfielder Danny Williams. This all means that the best players they have at their disposal must step up to the mark this season.
As I have already introduced, this article is all about praising the best talent in the Championship over a certain age. French striker Yann Kermorgant certainly proved that he is one of the best veterans outside the Premier League last season. The Royals will certainly be hoping to see more of the same from him this season.
The 35-year-old was ranked the eighth best Championship player last season with an average rating of 7.45. In addition to that, the Frenchman scored 18 goals making him one of the leading goalscorers in the league. There is no doubt that his contribution last season was massive – and Reading will need to see more of the same from him.
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2. Sol Bamba (Cardiff City)
Neil Warnock did a decent job of stabilising Cardiff last season – and he will be hopeful about pushing the club into the play-off this season. It’s hard to know before a ball is kicked how well the Bluebirds might fare in the Championship – especially with speculation that owner Vincent Tan may be looking to sell the club.
Warnock is an old-fashioned manager that likes his teams to build from the back and have a direct style of play. With that in mind, 32-year-old defender Sol Bamba could have a very important part to play. The Ivory Coast international was ranked as the ninth best player in the Championship last season with an average rating of 7.44.
The player is a good all-round defender with particular ability for clearing the ball from danger. His role in the coming season will be in two parts, the first will be to offer good resistance against the opposition. The second part of his role is to blast those long balls forward that can set up attacks. All in all, he makes our list as one of the best over 30 players outside the Premier League.
3. Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa)
Aston Villa didn’t see the return on their investment that they were hoping for from last season, but the squad they have now should do well in the Championship. I think it was a smart move when they appointed Steve Bruce and he should be able to get the club back to the Premier League. In fact, in my Championship prediction – I have them down to win the league.
Of course, for them to achieve that aim, all their best players will have to turn up and perform this season. That certainly did not happen last season, so the pressure will certainly be on them this season. One player that has real quality for this league is Australian midfielder Mile Jedinak – and the former Crystal Palace player could be key for Steve Bruce.
Jedinak was ranked as the 18th best player in the Championship last season with an average rating of 7.30. The 32-year-old may not prove to make a huge contribution in terms of goals and assists – but his work at protecting the defence is equally as important. I know a lot of people still think that this player has the quality for the Premier League – so he comfortable makes our list of the best over 30 players in the Championship.
4. Aiden McGready (Sunderland)
Sunderland are certainly a big club to be playing their football in the Championship for the coming season. However, they are also a team on the decline and have been a little unambitious with their appointment of Simon Grayson as manager. In addition, their work in the transfer market seems to be more Aldi than Waitrose. That’s why I’m tipping them to be one of the big clubs to struggle this season.
This article is about individuals though and Sunderland certainly do have some talented players in their squad that will perform at Championship level. One of those players is new signing Aiden McGready – who excelled on loan with Preston last season. McGready was ranked the 28th best player in the Championship last season – and will be looking to make a significant impact with his new club.
The player had an average rating of 7.20, which further underpins his consistent performance level. It’s worth mentioning that the versatile attacking midfielder also offers excellent end product. This was shown with eight goals and nine assists during his season with Preston. Therefore, this 31-year-old comfortably makes our list as one of the best outside the Premier League.
5. Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City)
Norwich City are an interesting club to keep an eye on as they go through a transitional phase. However, I do see them being an exciting team to watch – and that’s why I’ve tipped them to sizzle this season. What will be interesting though is the sort of style that we see from Norwich as they look to improve on their defensive record.
When it comes to looking for players on the creative side of the game, there are few better than Wes Hoolahan. Although, the Irish international is now 35; he is the sort of player that has creative ability not seen by many in the Championship. Wes’ game time may well be limited – but he can still make a substantial contribution.
In terms of last season, the former Blackpool man was ranked as the 31st best player in the Championship with an average rating of 7.19. Again, like some of the other players in this list; it’s not simply a matter of consistent performance for him. There is also a good amount of end product to his game with seven goals and 10 assists last season. New coach Daniel Farke will certainly be hoping for some more special moments from the Irish Messi this season.
6. Pablo Hernandez (Leeds United)
Leeds United are certainly an interesting club to be playing in the Championship. No one is about to deny how massive their history is – and how big they can be once again. However, they have struggled in recent years – and their top seven finish last season was very much unexpected. I personally put a lot of that success down to Garry Monk, who has now moved on to Middlesbrough.
All in all, recreating what they did last season will be a tough challenge – but they will certainly give it a good go. If they are going to have a good season – then it’s vital that their best players are up for the challenge. To round up our list of the top over 30 players outside the Premier League, we bring you, Pablo Hernandez.
The 32-year-old was ranked as the 54th best player in the Championship last season with an average rating of 7.11. Hernandez is a versatile player with the ability to be used in several different attacking positions – but he offers great end product as well. The raw stats from last season included six goals and eight assists. The Whites will certainly be hoping that this Spaniard is on top of his game again this season.
This completes the content section for this article as we asked which players over 30 were the best outside the Premier League. So, did we get it right? Let us know which players you would have liked to have seen included instead.
If Championship content is your thing, then keep an eye on my profile page for all the latest updates. As the season is now upon us, there will be a mixture of current content and a continuation of my feature pieces. Whichever Championship team you support, wishing you the best of luck for this season.