With most of world football’s big names plying their trade in the top flight of the English game, it is easy to see how the wealth of talent playing in the rest of the country’s divisions could be overlooked.

But there are scores of up-and-coming talents and undiscovered gems in the Championship, League One and League Two.

Here are five of the best players outside the English Premier League:

1. Peter Wittingham
Division: Coca-Cola Championship
Club: Cardiff City

The former Aston Villa midfielder is the Championship’s top goalscorer with 16 goals this season at the time of writing and has become a key component in the Blue Bird’s rise into the playoff places. Since arriving in South Wales in 2006 for a reported £350,000, Wittingham has made over 100 appearances and netted 35 goals.

2. Rickie Lambert
Division: Coca-Cola League One
Club: Southampton

Lambert moved to Southampton before the summer transfer window closed in 2009 from Bristol Rovers. Known for his stature and goalscoring ratio, the Liverpool-born forward has scored 19 times in the league so far this season and will be a major part in the Saints push for a playoff place, with the team lying in 12th place in the table.

3. Robert Snodgrass
Division: Coca-Cola League One
Club: Leeds United

The Scotland international was signed by previous Elland Road manager Gary McAllister for a minimal fee from Livingston and has established himself as a firm favourite with the fans. The tricky winger brings goals and skill to the team and at 21 years old he has a bright future ahead of him and has shown he can take on the best in the world in the League Cup against Liverpool and the FA Cup against Manchester United.

4. Adam Le Fondre
Division: Coca-Cola League Two
Club: Rotherham United

23-year-old forward Adam Le Fondre has established himself as one of the best strikers outside the Premier League and notched up 75 goals in his six-year career, 19 of which have been scored this season for his present club Rotherham United. The Millers currently sit fifth in League Two and are still in the hunt for automatic promotion, and should they return to League One it will largely be down to the goals of Le Fondre.

5. Steven Taylor
Division: Coca-Cola Championship
Club: Newcastle United

Steven Taylor has been a stalwart at the heart of the Magpies defence this season as the club aim to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. At the time of writing Newcastle have won 14 games, drawn seven and lost two when Taylor has played an effort that has not gone unnoticed, with Chelsea and Manchester City both touted as possible destinations for the centre-back during the transfer window. While he is currently sidelined with a knee injury until March the defender has shown maturity beyond his years and is surely one of the best English defenders in the country.


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