Euro 2012 - Average Age Of The Squads
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Is youth the way to go ?
England have opted for a much younger team than they did in the 2010 South Africa world cup, going from having the oldest squad (Average age of 28.7) to now having the 3rd youngest (26.04). This is largely in part due to the blueprint laid out by Germany, Germany's young players Ozil and Muller, tore the old pro's of the England team and led people to start thinking that maybe young, exciting players are the way to go.
Germany's team is their youngest ever in a European Championship and the Youngest squad in the current Poland/Ukraine Euro2012, With Ireland having the oldest.
The youngest player of all is Netherlands Left Back 'Willems' and is also the youngest player ever to play in a European Championship. Hes playing a tricky position for an 18 year old to make their debut on the international stage, defending is more about consistancy and staying swicthed on for a full 90 minutes. He will need to prove that he mature enough to fulfil his defensive responsabilities sufficiently but will do well not to be made a scape goat for Hollands inevitable defensive lapses, as everybody knows Holland have a huge imbalance between attacking and defensive ability and should they concede many goals, people may be quick to jump on 'Willems' and speculate whether he is ready or not.
The player with the greatest opportunity to set the tournament alight and really make a name for himself is Englands Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He has been given a more free role within the left hand side of Englands midfield, a position which nobody has really staked a perminant claim for in England team for many years now. In South Africa 2010, Steven Gerrard had to move into LM from his favoured CM position and he since refered to the LM position as 'The Graveyard shift'.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, known to fans as 'The Ox' is showing signs of willingness to take the bull by the horns and really give the tournament a go and make the most of this chance. The same youthful innocence and positive directness that England have witnessed before from extremely young Footballing prodigies, im talking your Gascoignes, Ya Owens, Ya Rooneys, i cant think of many other countries that have produced so many 18 year olds that have gone on to really establish themselves in an international tournament, other than Brazil.
Germany are fast becoming alot of peoples favorites in this 2012 tournament and they have the youngest team of all and Ireland are the oldest team and are joint least likely to win the tournament, with Paddy power giving 200/1 odds.
So is this the key? is it simply take a young team and you will at least go far and play exciting Football, where players are willing to take risks and dont appear to be too scarred by failings of tournaments gone by?
Top Scorer (as of 12/06/12)
Russia's Dzagoev (Aged 21), a midfielder no less
There would seem to be a little more hunger and desire in this instance, obviously Shevchenko is second so far and set to play again on Friday and proves that old is still gold.