Squad age profiles: League 2, 2017/18

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).

Explanation

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.

Promoted Wycombe were the oldest team in the division, with their line-ups averaging over 29 years old on average. They may therefore have more to do in the transfer market this summer than either Luton or Accrington, whose average ages are each around 26.

Mansfield put the least faith in youth, with only a combined 51 minutes racked up by players aged 21 or under. Given that the next lowest in the division was 3,428, it’s safe to say that Steve Evans didn’t approach that role with a long-term view.

Colchester fielded the youngest players by far, with an average age of just over 24. The mere 2.5% of playing minutes accrued by players in their 30s was the lowest in the whole EFL.