Everton may hold the second-lowest average age for a starting XI in the Premier League, but Toffees fans on the Grand Old Team forum have been debating giving youth a chance.
According to data supplied by TransferMarkt, the average age of a team named by Marco Silva has been 25.6. The only side to average below that is Southampton with a 25.3.
What benefits the St Mary’s outfit, though, is that their squad’s overall average age is only 25.7, compared to our 27.0 – we rank eighth in this aspect, no thanks to Phil Jagielka and Maarten Stekelenburg.
That pair, however, are infrequent on the teamsheet, while the likes of Tom Davies, Jonjoe Kenny and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have amassed a combined 50 appearances in the league this season.
Richarlison is another young star to appear in Silva’s plans more than he does not, but he was not an academy graduate, and that is where Ralphie Boy has suggested we look.
“So Brands has already stated that we will probably not be buying a top striker but will be concentrating on introducing youth, but with the demise of this season do you think now is the time to start blooding them?” he suggested on the Grand Old Team forum.
“Riding high in U23 and singing the teams praise means nothing if they are not given a chance, stating that they are not good enough doesn’t really cut it as most teams in the Premiership seem to be blooding the odd youngster.”
His proposed concept generated a lot of responses…
“I would like to see more of them get a chance as well. But to be honest, I’ve got to the point now where I get genuinely worried when a young lad gets a chance, because he’ll always be held to ludicrous standards and will be quickly deemed as “not good enough” after a couple of kicks of the ball from the usual gallery of geniuses in the worst element of our support” – Mikey_Fitzgerald (March 13, 15:57)
“Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, Onyekuru: Are all around 21 years old so theoretically should all keep improving with game time and familiarity with one another. For homegrown from our youth system, I think we’re still a season away from that at least — so it’s going to mean signing players.” – Zatara (March 13, 16:02)
“Kenny, Holgate, Davies, Richarlison, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin have all been given quite a lot of game time, so I don’t think this is really a problem for us. When we shift off a lot of deadwood on massive wages, some more could be pushed up from the youths. We’re definitely blooding more youngsters than other teams and we’ll be buying more and more who will be given ample opportunities.” – ToffeJack (March 13, 16:07)
“It’s ok saying use the youth, but they have to be of the right quality. 15th position in the league points to them just not being good enough.” – BigNoseBlue (March 13, 16:11)
“Being top of the pl2 is not much of an indication to how they’ll do at actual football sadly. If they’re good enough they’d be picked now. Look at that Sambou lad. Always seems to be slotting at that level, but when he was available for a loan in January nobody at any level was interested.” – Ijjysmith (March 13, 16:11)
“Simple answer: when they’re good enough.” – Nymzee (March 13, 18:21)
“Playing well or struggling for players and they’d get time. We’ve got a manager struggling to achieve 40 points with a bloated squad. He’s more worried about scabbing points than the future of our U23s.” – Layne (March 13, 18:58)
“The situation is the same as it’s always been, you can only introduce youth if it’s good enough. The very best will force their way in, but they have to be very special. Nothing has changed.” – Eggs (March 13, 19:21)
“Probably better to say that the kids who can break into the first team are the ones who are already in the first team, at least in training and match day 18s. Speaking of the strikers specifically, Simms, Hornby, and Sambou seem to be the three with the best chance of breaking through, but they’re all behind Sandro and Niasse, both of whom aren’t with the club presently. But maybe I’m just saying the obvious here.” – SerenityNigh (March 13, 19:24)
“You have player A on £100k a week, you have player B on 5k a week. Who does it make more financial sense to play? If you don’t play A, what are the board likely to say? Will big money transfers be sanctioned in future? The side I never really considered ‘til I had a conversation with a mate who works with the FA. Essentially inflation of wages is making it harder for youth to get in -, clubs want to see return on huge investments.” – Zzr45 (March 14, 06:21)