From Jude Bellingham to Premier League regulars, the incredible list of stars who were playing in Championship pre-Covid

JUDE BELLINGHAM is now a Real Madrid star but not long ago he was playing in the star-studded Championship with Birmingham.

Taking a look back at 2019/20 season, the second tier had a host of incredible talents that have since been snapped up by bigger clubs.

Jude Bellingham started off in the second tier with BirminghamGetty

Jarrod Bowen is now a West Ham heroGetty

Leeds, West Brom and Fulham all got promoted that year.

From international stars to Premier League regulars, SunSport take a look back at the players who have lived up to the hype.

Jude Bellingham – Birmingham

The biggest success story from the pre-Covid season is Bellingham.

He made his senior debut that year, becoming the club’s youngest ever first-team player at 16 years, 38 days.

The wonderkid started 35 games for the Blues before being snapped up by Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

Bellingham impressed in Germany and captained the side while still being a teenager.

After three seasons, the central midfielder moved to Real Madrid for a British record £115million.

Jarrod Bowen – Hull

Bowen entered the 19/20 season having scored 36 goals across the previous two Championship campaigns with Hull.

He continued his fine scoring run as he netted 16 by the end of January with his quality now too apparent for Premier League teams to ignore.

It was West Ham who signed him in the winter for £18m with £7m coming in add-ons.

Since joining the Hammers, Bowen has remained on fire and become a club hero when he scored a 90th minute winner in the Conference League final to end their 43-year wait for a major trophy.

The winger has also been capped four times by England.

Kalvin Phillips – Leeds

Under Marcelo Bielsa it was Leeds who lifted the title in 2020 with Phillips an integral part of the team.

With the Englishman in the heart of the midfield, the Whites then consolidated their position in the top-flight.

Philips’ form led to him becoming a Three Lions regularly and he then secured a move to Treble winners Manchester City for £42m.

However, he has struggled to land a regular spot in the team.

Ollie Watkins – Brentford

Watkins is now leading the line for Aston Villa as they begin the journey into European football in the Conference League.

The striker helped fire Unai Emery’s men to a seventh place finish last season with 15 league goals.

But back in 19/20, Watkins enjoyed a stellar final year in the Championship, netting 26 times for Brentford to share the golden boot with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.

GettyOllie Watkins scored goals for fun at Brentford[/caption]

Said Benrahma – Brentford

Watkins’ partner in crime at Brentford was Said Benrahma as the Bees lost in the play-off final to the Cottagers, before they eventually sealed promotion the following year.

The Algerian winger scored 30 goals in two Championship seasons and earned a big-money transfer across London to West Ham.

Like Bowen, Benrahma is a regular for the Irons and wrote himself into the history books when he scored in the Conference League final.

Bryan Mbuemo – Brentford

Mbeumo’s first season in England was the 19/20 season as he penned a five-year contract for then club record £5.8m fee.

He fired the club to promotion a year after joining and is now one of the Premier League’s most deadly attackers and arguably Brentford’s main man when Ivan Toney isn’t available.

Marc Guehi – Swansea

The Swans picked up the Chelsea centre-back on loan for the second half of the season in question.

He earned rave reviews in the Championship and Crystal Palace signed him soon after for £18m.

Guehi is now an England regular and Eagles club captain.

Michael Olise – Reading

Olise enjoyed his first full season in the Reading senior team four years ago.

The wonderkid eventually found his feet and was crowned EFL Young Player of the Season in 2021.

Olise’s talent saw him follow Guehi to Crystal Palace and big clubs like Chelsea have since been keen to sign him.

Eberechi Eze – QPR

Eze was another off the Championship production line to head to Palace.

He made the 19/20 Team of the Year and he has gone from strength to strength in South London, becoming their main man in attack and hitting ten goals last season.

Ben White – Leeds

White came so close to getting his hands on the Premier League title with Arsenal last year.

But he first caught the attention of scouts at big clubs in 2019 while on loan from Brighton and Leeds.

His composure on the ball helped guide Leeds to promotion and see him establish himself as a Prem regular for the Seagulls before he made the £50m switch to the Gunners.

GettyLeeds had Ben White on loan for the 19/20 campaign[/caption]

Eddie Nketiah – Leeds

White’s Arsenal team-mate Nketiah was also part of the Leeds team that year.

He arrived at Elland Road on a season-long loan and scored five goals en route to ending the club’s 16-year wait for a return to the top-flight.

Nketiah has since proved himself as a Premier League poacher and Gareth Southgate handed him his first senior England call-up this season.

Conor Gallagher – West Brom

Gallagher burst onto the scene as an energetic midfielder on loan from Chelsea at both Charlton and Swansea in the 2019/20 campaign.

He has now nailed down his place in the Chelsea starting XI under Mauricio Pochettino and is a regular in the England squad.

Matty Cash – Nottingham Forest

Cash was named Forest’s Player of the Year during the Championship’s special prodigy-filled season.

It earned him a switch to Aston Villa being an integral part of the team and becoming a regular for the Polish national team.

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