Premier League lags behind as young stars shine in Germany & France

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Football News

Brendan Rodgers took charge at Liverpool this summer and promised to give youth a chance.

If you're good enough, you're old enough, and the Anfield boss has been true to his word - Liverpool have the youngest squad in the Premier League this season, with an average age of 25.6 years old.

The likes of 17-year-old Raheem Sterling, 18-year-old Suso and 19-year-old Andre Wisdom have all been handed Premier League starts by Rodgers, as the former-Swansea coach attempts to mould a young, creative, attacking team capable of challenging the league's title contenders.

The Daily Mail has revealed the top 10 youngest squads in Europe, and the top 10 in the Premier League. In the Premier League table, the Merseyside club just pipped Newcastle United (25.7 years old) to top spot. The Magpies can count on 20-year-old Sammy Ameobi and 19-year-old Gael Bigirimana, who scored for Alan Pardew's side against Wigan on Monday night.

Manchester United, Arsenal, Norwich and Aston Villa all feature high up in the Premier League table as well. But England's top flight clubs pale in comparison when you look at the Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

The French and German first divisions dominate the top 10 youngest squads in Europe - Liverpool don't come in until number 15.

The two leagues' commitment to youth is commendable, and is paying off big time for their national teams.

Germany in particular have some of the best young talent in the world playing their club football in the Bundesliga. Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, and Julian Draxler are all 23 or younger, and playing regular football in the German top flight.

And Joachim Low is the grateful benificiary. The 1996 European Champions reached the Euro 2012 semi-finals this year, and their young side probably should have reached the final.

Borussia Dortmund are the ideal Bundesliga case study. The city in north-west Germany boasts one of the most exciting young squads in Europe, and the back-to-back Bundesliga champions have taken the Champions League by storm this year - topping a group containing Manchester City and Real Madrid.

All with an average age of 24.3 years. Reus, Gotze and co are not just the future, they are the present.

But even Dortmund can't match Werder Bremen. The German side have an incredibly young squad - at an average age of 23.1 years.

The north-west German club currently sits eighth in the Bundesliga - just four points off the Champions League places. Apart from 31-year-old captain Clemens Fritz, Bremen's entire squad is between the age of 18 and 25.

In France, Rennes lead the way with an average age of 23.8 years old. The French club, spearheaded by international midfielder Yann M'Vila, currently lie seventh in Ligue 1.

The two Eurozone giants firmly commit to youth - France with the famed Clairefontaine academy, and Germany with the DFL-led youth development process. All teams in the top two divisions of German football must invest in high-quality academy facilities.

The English FA may have finally cottoned on - the recent opening of St George's Park is a step in the right direction - but it takes time for the effects to filter through. France waited 10 years before Clairefontaine produced a World Cup-winning team - Roy Hodgson may have to wait longer.

World and European champions Spain may be reaping the rewards of a current 'golden generation' but the big Spanish teams just don't compare to their French and German counterparts.

Real Madrid - 26.5 years old - find themselves just behind Barcelona - 26.3 years old - a good three years older on average compared to Bremen. And here are the stats to prove it...

Youngest squads in Europe

1. Werder Bremen (Germany) - 23.1 years old

2. Hoffenheim (Germany) - 23.7 years old

3. Rennes (France) - 23.8 years old

4. Nice (France) - 24 years old

5. Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) - 24.1 years old

6. Borussia Dortmund (Germany) - 24.3 years old

6= Freiburg (Germany) - 24.3 years old

7= Lyon (France) - 24.5 years old

7= Nancy (France) - 24.5 years old

8. Sochaux (France) - 24.6 years old

9= Pescara (Italy) - 24.7 years old

9= Toulouse (France) - 24.7 years old

10= Nuremburg (Germany) - 24.9 years old

10= Greuther Furth (Germany) - 24.9 years old

Top 10 youngest Premier League squads

1. Liverpool - 25.6 years old

2= Newcastle - 25.7 years old

2= Aston Villa - 25.7 years old

3= Manchester United - 26.2 years old

3= Norwich City - 26.2 years old

3= Arsenal - 26.2 years old

4. Southampton - 26.4 years old

5. Manchester City - 26.6 years old

6. Sunderland - 26.9 years old

7. Chelsea - 27.1 years old


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