EFL Team of the Season so far: Best XI from the Championship, League One and League Two | Football News

With the final international break of the year upon us, WhoScored.com take a look at their EFL team of the season so far with a combined XI from the Championship, League One and League Two…

Goalkeeper: Luke Southwood (Reading) – 7.13 rating

After a series of loan spells, Southwood is enjoying an impressive breakthrough season with Reading. 3.8 saves per game is the third most of EFL goalkeepers to have made 10 or more league appearances this season, while only Mark Travers of Bournemouth (81.4 per cent) has a better save success rate (80.8 per cent). No EFL team is conceding more shots per game than Reading (16.1) and the Royals would be in a more perilous position were it not for Southwood excelling between the sticks.

Right-back: Tom James (Leyton Orient) – 7.26 rating

Leyton Orient occupy a play-off spot in League Two and a key reason for their rise up the table has been the performances of James down the right. The Welshman has had a direct hand in six goals for the O’s this season, with 18 key passes translating to three assists.

Centre-back: Jon Guthrie (Northampton) – 7.52 rating

There’s a towering presence at the heart of the defence in the form of Guthrie, with the Northampton centre-back winning 94 aerial duels this season. A 72.9 per cent aerial success rate is the 22nd best of the 378 EFL players to have contested 50 or more aerial duels in 2021/22, while 83 clearances is the 13th-best return in the three divisions. His solid rearguard showings have seen Northampton concede just 11 times from 15 games.

Centre-back: Mickey Demetriou (Newport) – 7.46 rating

Remaining in League Two, Newport’s Demetriou partners Guthrie at the heart of the defence. The 31-year-old has chipped in with commendable returns of 6.3 aerial duels won per game and 6.2 clearances per game for Newport in 2021/22, and his proactive defensive approach means the League Two side have shipped just 18 goals this term.

Left-back: Joe Jacobson (Wycombe) – 7.46 rating

Moving up to League One to round off the defence, Jacobson has been rolling back the years to impress for a Wycombe side hoping to make an immediate return to the Championship. 27 key passes is an impressive return for the 34-year-old, who also has four assists to his name. 61 tackles and interceptions combined ranks among the top 20 EFL players to reinforce statistically calculated WhoScored.com strengths of ‘tackling’ and ‘ball interception’.

Right midfield: Harry Wilson (Fulham) – 7.54 rating

The first of two Fulham players to feature in this side. Six assists is the fourth-highest return in the EFL this season, coming from 32 key passes, with this ranking among the top 20 players. Wilson has also struck five times this season to nail down a spot on the right.

Central midfield: John Swift (Reading) – 7.47 rating

Only Sorba Thomas (eight) has registered more assists than Swift (seven) of all EFL players this season. The 26-year-old has proved to be a key man for a Reading side that has scored just 22 league goals. A total of 47 key passes is the third best return in the three tiers of English football, while in addition, 34 successful dribbles ranks fifth in the EFL. With eight goals to his name, Swift is good value for his inclusion.

Central midfield: Philip Billing (Bournemouth) – 7.38 rating

Billing has had a direct hand in nine goals this season, hitting the back of the net six times, while off the ball, the Cherries man has impressed. Indeed, Billing is averaging 1.9 tackles per game and winning 2.2 aerial duels per game.

Left midfield: Oladapo Afolayan (Bolton) – 7.44 rating

The only non-Championship representative in the midfield is Bolton winger Afolayan. After struggling for game time last term, Afolayan has become a key man for the Trotters in 2021/22, scoring seven times for a Bolton side that has netted just 22 goals in League One. The 24-year-old ranks fourth for successful dribbles (35) in the EFL this season and has been fouled more times (54) than any other player.

Striker: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) – 8.00 rating

The best-rated player in the EFL. His winning goal against Peterborough over the weekend took Mitrovic to 20 league goals for the season, while the Serb has also managed an additional five assists. He has scored at least seven more goals than any other EFL player and has had the most shots (74) across the three tiers.

Striker: Michael Smith (Rotherham) – 7.85 rating

A tally of 12 goals is the fourth-best in the EFL this season and with Rotherham third in League One, Smith has evidently played a key role on the frontline. The striker has been a handful for any League One defence in 2021/22, with 102 aerial duels won, ranking 15th in the EFL.

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