Premier League managers putting faith in youth

14 Sep 2019
Man Utd celebrate

Average age of starting XIs is the lowest for 11 years, with Man Utd leading the way

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The Premier League this season seems to be a young man’s game, the latest data shows, with the average age of the starting XIs in 2019/20 at their lowest level for 11 years.

It is still early on in the season, but in the 40 Premier League matches so far clubs have fielded players from the start with an average age of 26 years and 275 days.

This is the second-youngest average age ever for starting XIs compared with those in the month of August in past Premier League seasons.

It was eclipsed only by the 2008/09 season, when the average age was 26 years and 265 days. 

Average age of starting XIs in August 
Season Age Season Age
1992/93 26y 293d 2006/07 27y 37d
1993/94 27y 66d 2007/08 26y 300d
1994/95 27y 60d 2008/09 26y 265d
1995/96 27y 98d 2009/10 27y 132d
1996/97 27y 116d 2010/11 27y 198d
1997/98 27y 162d 2011/12 27y 63d
1998/99 27y 78d 2012/13 27y 182d
1999/00 27y 237d 2013/14 27y 116d
2000/01 27y 215d 2014/15 27y 38d
2001/02 27y 228d 2015/16 27y 62d
2002/03 27y 132d 2016/17 27y 261d
2003/04 27y 241d 2017/18 27y 67d
2004/05 27y 198d 2018/19 27y 22d
2005/06 27y 169d 2019/20* 26y 275d

*includes 1 Sep 2019 fixtures

More than 10 per cent of the minutes played in the 2019/20 Premier League have been by players aged 21 or under. That is also a high in the last 10 years. 

Leading the way in investing his faith in youth is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Manchester United manager’s starting XIs have averaged under 25 years in age this season. 

The arrival of players such as Aaron Wan-Bissaka (aged 21), Daniel James (21) alongside Academy graduates including Marcus Rashford (21), Scott McTominay (22) and Andreas Pereira (23) have lowered the average age. 

The XI who drew 1-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers in Matchweek 2 averaged 24 years and 173 days and was United’s youngest in the competition since the final day of the 2016/17 campaign. 

Southampton are next in the rankings, having named the youngest starting XI this season.

The Saints side who won 2-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion in Matchweek 3 had an average age of 24 years and 128 days, helped by 20-year-old full-backs in Yan Valery and Kevin Danso, and 21-year-old scorer Moussa Djenepo.

Southampton players celebrate at Brighton
Southampton's starting XI at Brighton had an average age of 24 years and 128 days, the youngest this season

Daniel Farke has continued his trust in the young Norwich City players who got the team promoted from the Championship last season, naming sides who average just 25 years and 68 days. 

Norwich were only the second club in Premier League history to hand four British players aged 21 or younger (Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell, Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis) their Premier League debuts in the same match. 

Average age of starting XIs this term
Club Age Club Age
Man Utd 24y 312d Wolves 26y 305d
Southampton 25y 22d Sheff Utd 27y 0d
Norwich 25y 68d Man City 27y 56d
Chelsea 25y 88d Liverpool 27y 59d
Bournemouth 25y 220d Spurs 27y 84d
Everton 26y 73d West Ham 27y 120d
Aston Villa 26y 108d Brighton 27y 167d
Newcastle 26y 109d Burnley 28y 123d
Arsenal 26y 116d Crystal Palace 29y 153d
Leicester 26y 177d Watford 29y 204d

Chelsea are fourth in the rankings thanks to Frank Lampard putting faith in youth products of the Academy. The average age of the head coach’s starting XI against Sheffield United, at 24 years and 158 days, was the Blues' youngest in a Premier League match.

The rise of players such as Mason Mount (20) and Tammy Abraham (21) from the Academy and Christian Pulisic (20) has given Lampard the chance to field such a young team. 

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