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Irish Player Ratings: 16 Players Feature In The Championship's Opening Weekend

Irish Player Ratings: 16 Players Feature In The Championship's Opening Weekend
By Mark Farrelly
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The EFL Championship returned at the weekend, throwing up its usual serving of upsets and general madness. Throughout the season we'll be keeping an eye on the stand-out Irish performers and the opening matchday had plenty to choose from. You can check out how each player fared below.

The Irish Player Ratings

On Friday night, Irish players has a massive say in the outcome of Luton Town vs Middlesbrough. James Collins scored a dramatic equaliser in the 85th to earn Luton a 3-3 draw but could have won it in stoppage time but for a great save from Darren Randolph.

Speaking to Luton Today - who incidentally gave him an 8.5 in their player ratings - Collins said:

I caught it well and it was going in the top corner but the keeper’s made a great save.

He’s a fantastic goalkeeper and that just goes to show we’re going to come up against goalkeepers like that this year, so maybe your finishing has got to be a little bit better.

16 Irish players featured in the Championship across the week, with three internationals on the pitch as Millwall snatched a 1-0 victory against Preston North End. Shaun Williams had a good game for Millwall, with NewsShopper.co.uk rating him 7/10: "Cleans up and ticks things over in the middle. Rarely flustered and despite lacking pace, the Irishman will be key this season."

Alan Browne played in the hold behind Seani Maguire and the Lancashire Evening Post gave both Irish lads a 6/10.

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One of the weekend's stand-out Irish performers was QPR's Ryan Manning. They beat Stoke City 2-1, with Manning operating at left-back in the first half before moving into midfield. While rating his 8/10 performance, West London Sports said: "Continues to look the part at left-back and also did well when moved into midfield in the second half. A couple of brilliant challenges were the highlights of an excellent all-round performance."

That match also featured another Irish midfielder in a new left-back position, with James McClean slotting into Stoke City's back four. Stoke-on-Trent Live rated him 6/10 and has done some interesting analysis since, noting that QPR played 11% more passes into that area compared to the other attacking zones.

18-year-old Nathan Collins started for Stoke at centre back and was particularly impressive. The aforementioned Stoke-on-Trent Live gave him 7/10, while Republic of Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy has since spoken publicly about the teenager:

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We’ll also monitor Nathan [Collins] for Stoke at Charlton Athletic on Saturday. We know all about Nathan – we wanted to sign him for Ipswich Town when he trained with us at Carton House a couple of summers ago – and we had him in our thoughts for the training camp in Portugal at the end of last season.

Nathan took his first-team chance with Stoke at the end of last season and he is building on that now. He’s a big centre-back who is comfortable on the ball and he is making real progress. That’s great to see.

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It was a day to forget for Reading but Josh Barrett was a shining light in a 3-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. The Tilehurst End gave him a 6 out of 10 and said "Generally that bit sharper and more positive than those around him, and created Reading’s goal with a delightful floated pass for Meite to head home.

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"He showed that he’s versatile enough to fill in wherever required, but is probably better suited to being in the middle of the park." Kieren Westwood also featured for Sheffield Wednesday but was sent off in the 80th minute for taking down Mo Barrow when through on goal.

Birmingham City's Dan Crowley celebrated his birthday on Saturday and marked it with an impressive debut as they upset the odds to beat at Brentford 1-0. The Birmingham Mail gave him a seven out of ten in their match ratings, while one enthusiastic fan took to Twitter to declare him the best midfielder he's seen in a Blues shirt in years.

Speaking about the game, Mick McCarthy said:

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Danny [Crowley] was watched by Terry Connor at Brentford on Saturday and Terry told me he was encouraged by what he saw. The game proved again that Danny has that forward thinking mentality, he can see a pass and he can execute it.

Wigan's win over Cardiff City was arguably the surprise result of the weekend and former Cardiff midfielder, Anothony Pilkington was in flying form for Wigan. He got a 7/10 rating in Wigan Today. Meanwhile, Blackburn Rovers were uninspiring in their 2-1 loss to Charlton Athletic, where Darragh Lenihan was given a 5/10 by the Lancashire Telegraph.

On Sunday, Callum O'Dowda never really got an opportunity to display any of his attacking capabilities as Leeds United comfortably beat Bristol City. The Bristol Post gave him a 6/10 however, saying "Back to his marauding best and looked the most likely to conjure something for the home side."

The final game of the opening weekend saw Derby County beat Huddersfield Town on Monday night. Their captain, Richard Keogh was as impressive as ever, getting a 7.5 rating in the Derby Telegraph, while 18-year-old Jason Knight came on with four minutes to go for his Championship debut.

See Also: 'He Will Be In The Next Ireland Squad' - Breen Has No Doubts About Troy Parrott's International Prospects

 

 

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