Over the past 18 months, Anthony Knockaert has honed his skills and become a truly talismanic figure in the Brighton squad. With 15 goals and 8 assists last term, he proved a key figure in the promotion-winning side whilst being instrumental in maintaining high spirits amongst the players. The passing of his father Patrick in November 2016 inspired him to kick on in the bid for Premier League football as a heartfelt tribute.
Since joining from Belgian club Standard Liege in January 2016, the Frenchman has completely turned around the fortunes of the club and his own game, contributing to more goals than any other player in the Championship – particularly last season where his impressive performances led to him being named EFL Championship Player of the Year, ahead of forwards Chris Wood (Leeds) and Dwight Gayle (Newcastle). After an impressive promotion year with Leicester back in 2013/14, he left for Liege after falling down the pecking order to future Foxes hero Riyad Mahrez. Then, after perhaps failing to meet expectations in Belgium, Knockaert turned his sights back to England, for what would be a pivotal move in his career.
Knockaert usually starts on the right flank as a sort of wide playmaker, but can also operate on the left if needs be. He orchestrates play with driving runs forward looking to open up space in between the lines for the striker to drop into. Close control matched with exceptional balance allows him to manoeuvre freely into crossing areas where he often chooses to cut inside onto his stronger left foot. He can occasionally get carried away with the odd showboat, opting to dribble rather than feeding the oncoming striker or supporting midfielder. Despite that, his dribbling ability is unrivalled in the Championship, as well as his work ethic, with the majority of his movements resulting in clear-cut chances and most importantly, goals.
Still graced with years to develop at perhaps the peak of his career, I firmly believe it is his big chance to prosper on the biggest stage of them all; the Premier League.