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Ranked: The top 5 best Barnsley players of 2021 – Do you agree?

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As far as the year 2021 has gone, Barnsley have experienced the extreme highs and the lowest of lows.

The Tykes were on the cusp of a return to the Premier League earlier in the year after 23 years away from the big time, but they fell to Swansea City in the Championship play-off semi-finals.

A summer exodus of head coach Valerien Ismael, captain Alex Mowatt and CEO Dane Murphy saw big changes at Oakwell, and Markus Schopp’s reign in the dugout did not last very long – just 15 Championship fixtures in-fact before he faced the axe.

Poya Asbaghi has taken charge now for the rest of 2021 and beyond but the Yorkshire side are in perilous trouble as they sit in the relegation zone going into Christmas.

Quiz: Have Barnsley signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?

1 of 20

Have Barnsley signed a player from Luton Town in the last five seasons?

Let’s look back on Barnsley’s 2021 and rank their top five players of the calendar year.

5) Carlton Morris

Soccer Football – Championship – Preston North End v Barnsley – Deepdale, Preston, Britain – December 11, 2021 Barnsley’s Carlton Morris in action Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Daryl Dike was the man who seemingly changed things for Barnsley in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign and accelerated their charge into the play-offs, but Morris was an equally important January acquisition.

The striker had been playing for MK Dons on loan in League One before being snapped up permanently from Norwich by the Tykes mid-way through the season.

He scored seven times in 23 matches after arriving, proving to be an important figure and he also chipped in with assists too.

The current campaign hasn’t been as kind to Morris having missed a significant part already through injury, but he notched for the first time against Huddersfield and he could be a key figure in their battle against relegation.

4) Callum Brittain

Soccer Football – Championship – Barnsley v Blackburn Rovers – Oakwell, Barnsley, Britain – February 17, 2021 Barnsley’s Callum Brittain shoots as Blackburn Rovers’ Bradley Dack attempts to block

Brittain had never played a game in the Championship until his arrival at Oakwell last season from MK Dons, but he soon made the right-wing-back spot his own.

He missed just one league game in 2020-21 following his debut against Stoke City, and he popped up with five assists as both wing-backs in Ismael’s system played a key part in providing goals.

Brittain has again been a provider this season with three assists in a struggling side, but at the age of 23 he still has a lot of developing to do and if he can get even better then there could potentially be a Premier League player there in the future.

3) Brad Collins

Soccer Football – Championship – Stoke City v Barnsley – bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Britain – September 15, 2021 Barnsley’s Bradley Collins celebrates saving a penalty from Stoke City’s Mario Vrancic Action Images/Ed Sykes EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

He’s had a lot to do this season and has been kept extremely busy, which means Collins is deserving of his place on this list.

Collins in-fact only became first-choice last season at the end of January, coming in for Jack Walton and he’s kept his place ever since, ending the 2020-21 campaign with nine clean sheets.

Thanks to a strong defence under Ismael, Collins wasn’t tested all that frequently but it’s been a different story in recent months, with Stoke away standing out as a game where the ex-Chelsea man was important with a penalty save and countless other stops to help his side to a point.

2) Callum Styles

Soccer Football – Championship – Barnsley v Birmingham City – Oakwell, Barnsley, Britain – August 28, 2021 Barnsley’s Callum Styles celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

The conversion of Styles from a central midfielder to a left-wing-back was a masterstroke by ex-Barnsley boss Gerhard Struber – who started the transformation before he departed and Valerien Ismael continued it.

Styles showed fantastic form last season and was one of the standouts of Ismael’s side, scoring four times and adding four assists to his tally as well.

The current season hasn’t been all good though – Styles has flip-flopped between the engine room and wing-back which hasn’t helped his general performances but he’s still the club’s hottest prospect.

And with links to Celtic emerging you have to wonder if the 21-year-old will be a Tyke for much longer.

1) Michal Helik

Soccer Football – Championship – Barnsley v Sheffield United – Oakwell, Barnsley, Britain – October 24, 2021 Sheffield United’s Lys Mousset in action with Barnsley’s Michal Helik Action Images/Ed Sykes EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Barnsley used their international scouting network to bring Helik in from Polish side Cracovia last summer, and he proved to be an absolute colossus for the Yorkshire side.

The 26-year-old won the club’s Player of the Year award after being a part of a resolute back three all season, with his form earning him a first international cap for Poland in March of this year.

Obviously the current season hasn’t been so good for Barnsley but Helik is doing his best to stem the flow of goals against his side – he still ranks as the club’s best individual player of the whole year.


25 years old, UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, Preston North End fan

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Ranked: The top 5 best Barnsley players of 2021 – Do you agree?

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