The Championship is starting to take shape after the first few games. A lot of my articles focus on teams that are expected to do well or not do well. This article is a little bit different in that regard because it’s merely looking at a data point – and you can make your own mind up about how important this data is.
However, I will be adding my own opinion into the mix on how these teams may perform, which is natural with an article of this type. So, we are going to be looking at teams in the Championship that have the lowest average age.
Different people in football have different ideas about this topic and Brighton won promotion out of this league by having a high average age. What we can say though is these clubs are planning for the future and may well taste success in years to come. This content also only features one club that most people would fancy for the top six – so it’s one for the smaller clubs in the league.
So, now we have that out of the way – let’s get stuck into it…
1. Barnsley (Squad Average Age: 23.2)
When you read the title of this article and my introduction, you don’t expect Barnsley to lead this stat. However, the Tykes have been amongst the most active teams in the Championship for the number of players signed. Something that was largely a necessity due to the amount and quality of players they lost last season and this summer.
Barnsley had a strong first half of the season last year and adapted to playing at this level quickly. However, things went downhill in the second half of the season and it’s unknown what kind of year they can expect this time around. My own view is the average age of 23.2 is a little young to expect instant results – and they should look to consolidate within the league.
Nevertheless, there is quality in the squad and they have a core group of exciting young players that should light up the Championship this season and beyond. In terms of that, the club’s top five valued players are Alex Mowatt, Angus MacDonald, Tom Bradshaw, Mamadou Thiam and Zeki Fryers. Overall, there are plenty of things for Barnsley fans to be excited about going forward.
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2. QPR (Squad Average Age: 24.9)
QPR are a curious club because they have the biggest squad in the Championship, but it also performs quite well on average age. The concern here is that younger players are being invested in what may not yet be a core part of the team. It’s unclear how they may progress in the coming seasons, but this season looks to be another one of a struggle for them, despite a positive start.
QPR have added to their squad this summer with four new signings so far, only one of those players is over 30. The West London side have also promoted two players from their U23 side to the first team – so there is certainly a push for youth.
Overall, an average age of 24.9 sounds very healthy – but the squad size is 36, and that is 10 players too many. The likes of Luke Freeman and Conor Washington are both at good ages and they will be major players for the club – and hopefully, youngsters will come through as well. One thing is for sure, the club’s expansive spending from their time in the Premier League seems to be well and truly behind them.
3. Brentford (Squad Average Age: 24.9)
Brentford are a club I like a lot and think they have the right balance in their squad. The average age of 24.9 is the same as QPR’s – but they have a smaller squad with just 24 players. There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that the Bees are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the Championship. Taking all of these factors into account, the London club should be one to sizzle this season.
The club have shown good ambition in the transfer market this summer with a focus on bringing in young talent. There is now a whole host of talented young players such as Ollie Watkins, Daniel Bentley, Jota and Sergi Canos. Few people will be picking Brentford for the top six this season, given the size of some of the clubs in this league.
However, the Championship is known for throwing in surprises and there is a lot to like about what the club are trying to do. For example, Jota is an exciting player and it would be massive for the Bees if they could retain him. Whatever happens this season, it looks like the ongoing strategy at the club will bring success at some stage in the future.
4. Wolves (Squad Average Age: 25)
Wolves are another club that have their average age in a good place, but their squad size is a little too big. So, it’s unclear what kind of season they may have; they have certainly made a good start to the campaign and they will be hoping to keep that going. Wolves fans will also be pleased to know that the club have the third most valuable squad in the Championship.
The club, based in the Midlands, are certainly investing in their squad as well – and they have been amongst the biggest spenders in the league. In terms of those transfers, they certainly have acquired some talented young players such as Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves – who still is their biggest signing this summer.
Wolves also spent big money last season and had a very disappointing campaign that must have had fans worried about where the club was heading. However, a managerial change seems to have had a positive impact early doors as they have won all three of their opening league games. The next stage will be to keep it going and this young squad gives them a chance.
5. Millwall (Squad Average Age: 25.1)
Millwall are the final entry for this list and another surprise for me. I’m sure most people do not have high expectations for the club this season and many people see them as a club that will face a fight to survive.
I’ve noticed a trend for the Lions to want to play attacking football without enough intelligence on the defensive side of their game. The club are taking 20 shots per game (highest in the league), but giving away sloppy goals. Their last game was a prime example of that as they lost 4-3 at home to Ipswich.
The Lions are trying to build something in the Championship though and that includes both investing in young players and giving them an opportunity. The raw stats on the squad is having an average age of 25.1 and a squad size of 27. I’m sure they will look to do further work on that in future transfer windows, but they certainly aren’t too far away at present.
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This completes the content section for this article as we looked at the Championship teams that have squads with the lowest average age. The teams mentioned proves it doesn’t necessarily mean an awful lot – but a lot of us favour young and hungry players. So, you might just want to keep a close eye on the aforementioned teams this season and beyond.
If you enjoy Championship content like this – then keep a close eye on my profile page as there will be plenty more to come from me. Next, I’ll be looking at the squads with the most foreign players and the best value season tickets to be had in the league. As the Championship continues, best of luck to your team in the coming games.