JUDE BELLINGHAM is now a Real Madrid star but not long ago he was playing with Birmingham in the star-studded Championship.
A look back at the 2019/20 season shows that the second division had a wealth of incredible talent that has since been snapped up by bigger clubs.
Leeds, West Brom and Fulham all gained promotion this year.
From international stars to Premier League regulars, SunSport takes a look back at the players who lived up to the hype.
Jew Bellingham – Birmingham
The biggest success story of the pre-Covid season is Bellingham.
He made his senior team debut that year, becoming the club’s youngest first-team player at 16 years and 38 days.
The prodigy started 35 games for the Blues before being signed by Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
Bellingham impressed in Germany and was captain of the team as a teenager.
After three seasons, the central midfielder moved to Real Madrid for a British record fee of £115 million.
Jarrod Bowen – Hull
Bowen started the 19/20 season having scored 36 goals in the previous two Championship campaigns with Hull.
He continued his good run, scoring 16 goals by the end of January, with his quality now too obvious for Premier League teams to ignore.
It was West Ham who signed him in the winter for £18m, including £7m as an add-on.
Since joining the Hammers, Bowen has remained on fire and has become a club hero when he scored the 90th-minute winner in the Conference League final, ending a 43-year wait for a major trophy.
The winger also played four times for the England national team.
Calvin Phillips – Leeds
Under Marcelo Bielsa, it was Leeds that won the title in 2020, with Phillips an integral part of the team.
With the Englishman in the heart of the midfield, the Royals then consolidated their position in the top flight.
Philips’ form led to him being a regular with the Three Lions and then securing a £42m move to treble winners Manchester City.
However, it was difficult for him to get a regular place in the team.
Ollie Watkins – Brentford
Watkins is now at the helm of Aston Villa, who are beginning their journey into European football in the Conference League.
The striker helped Unai Emery’s side to a seventh-place finish last season with 15 league goals.
But in the 19/20 season, Watkins enjoyed an outstanding final year in the Championship, scoring 26 goals for Brentford, sharing the Golden Boot with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Said Benrahma – Brentford
Watkins’ partner at Brentford was Said Benrahma as the Bees lost to the Cottagers in the play-off final before eventually securing promotion the following year.
The Algerian winger scored 30 goals in two Championship seasons and earned a generous transfer across London to West Ham.
Like Bowen, Benrahma is a regular at the Irons and entered the history books with his goal in the Conference League final.
Bryan Mbuemo – Brentford
Mbeumo’s first season in England was the 19/20 season, when he penned a five-year contract for a then club record fee of £5.8 million.
He left the club a year after joining the promotion team and is now one of the Premier League’s top-scoring attackers and arguably Brentford’s main man when Ivan Toney is unavailable.
Marc Guehi – Swansea
The Swans have signed the centre-back from Chelsea on loan for the second half of the season.
He earned rave reviews in the Championship and Crystal Palace signed him shortly afterwards for £18 million.
Guehi is now a regular in England and captain of the Eagles club.
Michael Olise – Reading
Olise enjoyed his first full season with Reading’s senior team four years ago.
The prodigy eventually found his place and was named EFL Young Player of the Season in 2021.
Olise’s talent led to him following Guehi to Crystal Palace and big clubs such as Chelsea have been interested in signing him ever since.
Eberechi Eze – QPR
Eze was another Championship dropout who made his way to Palace.
He was named in the 19/20 team of the year and has gone from strength to strength in south London, becoming the main man in attack and scoring ten goals last season.
Ben White – Leeds
White came so close to winning the Premier League title with Arsenal last year.
However, he first caught the attention of big club scouts in 2019 when he moved on loan from Brighton and Leeds.
His composure on the ball helped Leeds gain promotion and established him as a Prem regular at the Seagulls before a £50million move to the Gunners.
Eddie Nketiah – Leeds
White’s Arsenal team-mate Nketiah was also part of the Leeds team this year.
He joined Elland Road on loan and scored five goals on the way to ending the club’s 16-year wait for a return to the top flight.
Nketiah has since proven to be a Premier League poacher and Gareth Southgate gave him his first senior England cap this season.
Conor Gallagher – West Brom
Gallagher emerged as an energetic midfielder in the 2019/20 season, on loan from Chelsea at both Charlton and Swansea.
He has now secured his place in Chelsea’s starting XI under Mauricio Pochettino and is a regular in the England squad.
Matty Cash-Nottingham Forest
Cash was named Forest Player of the Year in the Championship’s special miracle season.
This earned him a move to Aston Villa, where he became an integral part of the team and became a regular for the Polish national team.