Teemu Pukki: A Championship hero but can he make it at
Premier League level?
Photo: Getty Images

Teemu Pukki: A Championship hero but can he make it at Premier League level?

The striker is hoping not to follow in the footsteps of former PFA Championship Player of the Season winners.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Golden Boot winner; Player of the Season; Team of the Season; PFA Championship Player of the Season.

It is hard to believe that Teemu Pukki arrived at Norwich City on a free transfer just last summer but he has taken the second tier by storm, winning the latter award with almost 50% of the votes.

But does that mean he can continue to score goals in the top-flight? History suggests not.

A long list

The 2018 winner was Ryan Sessegnon who, like Pukki, was about to embark upon his first season in the English top-flight. Expected to challenge for England squads this year, Sessegnon flattered to deceive in a poor Fulham side that went straight back down to the Championship, the young winger looking half the player he was last season.

It has been a common theme for players who have picked up the PFA Championship Player of the Season Awards, particularly strikers.

2016 winner Andre Gray has done OK but scored an average of just seven Premier League goals per season since winning the award three years ago. Patrick Bamford (2015) has netted just once in 29 top-flight appearances for various clubs on loan, including Norwich.

Matej Vydra (2013) has scored only four in 36 during two separate spells in the Premier League, most recently with Burnley where he has barely featured. 2010 winner Sylvan Ebanks-Blake found the net just ten times in 76 appearances for Wolves after picking up the award.

Kevin Phillips (2008) previously prolific in the Premier League, also struggled after being crowned in 2008, scoring 5 in 37, although he did have another year in the second tier after winning the award.

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The next Ings?

However, there have been some successes for strikers rising to the next level. Danny Ings (2014) scored 11 in his first top-flight season before major injuries curtailed a peak period in his career. However, he has returned to score seven for Southampton this season.

Rickie Lambert (2012) netted 28 in his first two seasons at the highest level but only struck three more times in the next duo of campaigns.

So, can Pukki also buck the trend?

Possibly. The Finn has the ability to score goals from all angles and even the most awkward positions – just like Ings.

Norwich will create chances this season through the flair in their midfield and Pukki has the pace and strength not to be bullied out of the action by giant Premier League defenders.

Watch this space.

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