* All odds are current at time of writing and are subject to change. For up-to-date odds, visit our World Cup Betting Markets.
The 2022 World Cup is here, and many Championship players are taking part in the tournament. Fifteen clubs in English Football’s second tier have at least one player heading to Qatar, with some seeing multiple squad members linking up with their countries.
But which Championship clubs will be most affected by the 2022 World Cup? And how many teams could be missing key players when the division gets going again on 10th December? Here at your home of Football Betting, we have looked at the Championship clubs most and least impacted by the first-ever winter World Cup.
Players at the World Cup: 3 – Baba Rahman (Ghana), Junior Hoilett (Canada), Mamadou Loum (Senegal)
Reading are one of the two Championship teams most impacted by the 2022 World Cup. Three key members of the Royals’ squad are linking up with their national teams in Qatar, which is the joint most in England’s second tier. All three have played ten or more times for Reading this season. However, it may be that none of them are starters for their countries in Qatar.
Our World Cup Betting markets have Ghana and Canada as 11/4 outsiders to reach the knockout rounds. So, two Royals players will likely return well before the 10th December Championship restart. However, Senegal are evens to qualify from their group, which means Loum would remain in Qatar until at least 3rd December.
Players at the World Cup: 3 – Ben Cabango, Joe Allen (Wales), Olivier Ntcham (Cameroon)
Alongside Reading, Swansea City are another Championship club heavily impacted by the World Cup. Three players from Russell Martin’s side are heading to Qatar -Welsh duo Ben Cabango and Joe Allen and Olivier Ntcham. The selection of Allen raised many eyebrows, given the former Liverpool man has been missing since September with a hamstring injury.
When fit, all three players are regular starters for the Swans. Cabango is their rock at the back with 16 starts to his name, while Ntcham has five goals and two assists this term. Martin will hope the trio arrive back at the Liberty Stadium injury-free ahead of the second half of the season.
Players at the World Cup: 2 – Adam Davies (Wales), Iliman Ndiaye (Senegal)
Sheffield United do not have as many players going to Qatar as Reading and Swansea. Additionally, one of the players called up (Adam Davies) is their second-choice keeper and is unlikely to play a single minute for Wales. However, the other is the Blades’ star man and arguably the best player in the Championship – Iliman Ndiaye.
The forward has been outstanding for the South Yorkshire side, hitting nine goals and providing two assists. As already mentioned, the odds suggest Senegal should get through their group, and it looks as though Ndiaye could see plenty of action, having been handed the number nine shirt by Aliou Cissé. Having had a season plagued by injuries, Paul Heckingbottom will hope that Ndiaye returns to Sheffield with a clean bill of health.
Championship clubs least impacted by the World Cup
While most Championship clubs have at least one player going to the World Cup, a handful have no representatives in the Middle East. Managers of these teams will be delighted that their full squads will have a little break before returning to training ahead of a gruelling schedule. But which three teams will benefit most from having no players in Qatar?
Blackburn Rovers have emerged as serious Championship promotion contenders in the opening months of the campaign. The Lancashire club have been in and around the top two for most of the season, and sit third as things stand, two points behind the automatic promotion places. Jon Dahl Tomasson will be delighted that none of his players are heading to the Middle East, as it gives them a chance to rest and recuperate ahead of a busy second half of the season.
Star man Ben Brereton Diaz would have gone to the World Cup had Chile qualified. However, they finished 7th in the qualifying group and failed in their appeal to FIFA to replace Ecuador. Brereton Diaz has nine goals in 21 matches this season and giving him a breather over the next few weeks could prove vital.
Preston North End
Another team in the Championship promotion picture with no players at the World Cup is Preston. The Lilywhites enjoyed a strong run of form ahead of the break and now sit outside the play-off places on goal difference only.
Preston have many internationals within their squad. Alan Browne, Robbie Brady, Troy Parrott and Sean Maguire are all in the Republic of Ireland setup, while Daniel Johnson represents Jamaica. But with neither of those nations qualifying for Qatar, it means a full break for the whole North End squad.
At the other end of the table, fans of West Brom may be relieved that they have no players going to Qatar. Tom Rogic was the only player in their squad who had a chance of a call-up, but the midfielder was not selected by Australia boss Graham Arnold.
It has been a poor start to the season for the Baggies, who have spent many weeks in the relegation zone. The World Cup break gives new manager Carlos Corberán a chance to reset things, and he will have a full squad to work with.
Full list of Championship players at the 2022 World Cup
- Birmingham City – Hannibal Mejbri (Tunisia), Krystian Bielik (Poland)
- Bristol City – Antoine Semenyo (Ghana)
- Burnley – Connor Roberts (Wales)
- Cardiff City – Rubin Colwill, Mark Harris (Wales)
- Huddersfield Town – Sorba Thomas (Wales)
- Luton Town – Evan Horvath (USA), Tom Lockyer (Wales)
- Middlesbrough – Riley McGree (Australia)
- Norwich City – Josh Sargent (USA)
- QPR – Ilias Chair (Morocco), Seny Dieng (Senegal)
- Reading – Baba Rahman (Ghana), Junior Hoilett (Canada), Mamadou Loum (Senegal)
- Sheffield United – Adam Davies (Wales), Iliman Ndiaye (Senegal)
- Sunderland – Bailey Wright (Australia), Jewison Bennette (Costa Rica)
- Stoke City – Harry Souttar (Australia)
- Swansea City – Ben Cabango, Joe Allen (Wales), Olivier Ntcham (Cameroon)
- Watford – Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)