Squad age profiles: League 1, 2020-21
These graphics 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’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.
League 1 is the youngest of the top four English divisions this season and contains the only team not to have fielded a player in their 30s this season: Wimbledon.
Only one other team in the division has given a higher share of its league minutes to players aged 21 or under: Plymouth are in fact one of only two teams in the top four divisions (the other being local rivals Exeter) to have this age group rack up more than a third of their total.