Squad age profiles: 30 Dec 2018
Now that we’re roughly halfway through the season, I thought that it was worth updating the squad age profiles, which give a compact and colourful look at the age of players deployed by each club. 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.
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.
Three clubs – Burnley, Brighton and Watford – are pretty much tied for the oldest average starting XIs this season, while there’s not much between Fulham, Southampton and Everton at the young end of the scale. Cardiff are the team who appear to have the least faith in youth however: they’re the only top flight club not to have fielded anyone under the age of 23 so far this season. Huddersfield meanwhile are the only team not to have given minutes to anyone over the age of 30.
Bolton‘s lineups have been the Championship’s oldest with an average age of 29, while youthful Brentford have named starting XIs that tend to be more than four and a half years younger. The Bees are alone in having nobody over the age of 30 turn out for them this season, while around 43% of the Trotters’ playing minutes have been accumulated by players in their 30s. Millwall are the only side not to have fielded anyone aged 21 or under this season, while almost a third of Derby‘s minutes have been given to players in this age group.
Wycombe‘s starting line-ups have been the third tier’s oldest so far, with just under 40% of their playing minutes going to squad members in their 30s. Barnsley are still the youngest team in the division and haven’t fielded anyone over the age of 26 this season, although Coventry and Walsall are giving them a run for their money with some pretty young line-ups of their own. The Sky Blues are one of only two clubs in the top four divisions (the other being Crewe) to have given over a third of their minutes to players aged 21 or under.
Bury have named the oldest line-ups in the top four divisions so far and the 46% of their playing minutes which have gone to players in their 30s is also the highest across the Premier League and EFL. At the other end of the spectrum, Crewe – who narrowly pip Forest Green to the youngest line-ups on average – have given 36% of their total minutes to players aged 21 or under, with Oldham‘s 33% also impressively high. Yeovil are very unusual in having barely any peak-age players: nobody aged 25 to 27 has turned out for the Glovers this term.