Does age really matter in football? Now we know

Tottenham have never won the Premier League title and last claimed England’s top division back in 1961 but research shows that the upcoming season might finally bring an end to their 57-year wait.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side came close last term, playing second fiddle to Chelsea, but, according to Can’t Win Anything With Kids, the Lilywhites may well be ready to put that right.

The website has compared the age of every winning team since the Premier League began in 1992 and results suggests that sides with an average age of 26.6 are most likely to claim the spoils.

Spurs began last season with a relatively young squad compared to the other leading lights, and their regular starting players averaged out at 25 years, six months.

Therefore, by the time they kick off against Newcastle United a St James’ Park on August 12, they will be the perfect age to win the Premier League title.

The statistics can be broken down further into playing positions and Spurs’ back four of Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen possess and average age of 27.75 which compares favourably to an average rearguard age of 27.06 among all Premier League title-winning clubs.

That could change as Walker seems destined for Manchester City, while the White Hart Lane midfield will average out at 24.6 at the end of next season, with 25.38 the optimum age across the middle of the park.

The research also shows that a Premier League striker’s perfect age is 26.94 and so, at 23, Harry Kane still has a few years before he hits his peak – a frightening thought for opposition defenders.

While Tottenham look set to hit their peak, reigning champions Chelsea may be over the hill with an average age of 27.36.

That does not auger well domestically but, in terms of winning the Champions League, things are definitely looking up.

Antonio Conte’s side was one of the youngest among those to win a title in the European game last season, with only Ligue 1 champions Monaco (25.1) having a younger group of players.

Real Madrid took La Liga with a side averaging 28, while Bayern Munich (29.4) and Juventus (29.9) were significantly older when winning the Bundesliga and Serie A respectively.

The clubs who played in last season’s Champions League final had an average age of more than 28 and so the Blues are only one season from matching that and seem ripe for a tilt at Europe’s elite club competition.

Both Real and Juve had a number of players over the age of 30, with four in the Madrid side and seven in the Old Lady starting XI.

What the research also suggests is that Conte needs to lower the age of his side to retain the Premier League title while making sure he still has enough experience to take on Europe’s best.

The figures make fascinating reading and it will be interesting to see if the season pans out how the statistics suggest it will.

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