Squad age profiles: League 2, 2016/17

Continuing today’s onslaught of end-of-season graphics for League 2, here’s an updated version of the squad age profile graphic.

These are intended to give a quick visual overview of the age of players that each club has fielded in league matches using a technique very similar to “population pyramid” graphs, although I’ll freely admit that they’ve come out with shades of the Rorschach test (or as someone observed on Twitter, the Habitat lighting range).


Hopefully they’re fairly self-explanatory, but here’s a quick summary anyway:

For each club I’ve added up all the league minutes played by every player this season and calculated the percentage accumulated by players of every age, rolling up “18 and under” and “35 and over” for neatness’ sake.

Each vertical “step” on a club’s chart is a year, with the major age milestones denoted by slightly thicker lines (as per the labels on the left). The width of the coloured graph at each step corresponds to the percentage of minutes accounted for by players of that age.

I haven’t labelled the percentage values as the graphs were already getting pretty busy and I figured that the general shape and proportions were sufficient to compare teams against each other. I may revisit this (and a few other tweaks) later in the season once I’ve done a bit more tinkering.

I’ve also calculated the average age of each club’s starting line-ups this season and used this to sort all the clubs in a division from oldest to youngest.

Hopefully that’s enough to give you the idea, so let’s dive in.

So champions Portsmouth fielded the division’s oldest line-ups, which clocked in at almost 28 years old on average thanks to the veteran trio of David Forde, Michael Doyle and Carl Baker featuring almost constantly. The 13.9% of Pompey minutes racked up by players aged 35 or over is the highest in the EFL.

The youngest side didn’t finish all that far behind them: Luton‘s average starting eleven was one of two under 25 years old. The Hatters made more use of 21-year-old players than those of any other age.

While Doncaster‘s line-ups have been of a relatively average age – a shade under 26 – they gave a greater share of minutes to players aged 21 or under than anyone else: 31.2%.

Crewe teams are traditionally among the youngest, but the addition of a few relative veterans (that huge spike at age 30 in their plot) nudged them about the 25-year mark overall.