Mauricio Pochettino puts faith in his young guns at Tottenham Hotspur

Against QPR last week, his side had an average age of just 23 years and 291 days, the youngest named in the Premier League this season.

Tottenham Hotspur players react after a West Bromwich Albion goal during their English Premier League match at White Hart lane in London. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
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When four Tottenham youngsters gathered to celebrate an England equaliser in Turin on Tuesday night, their club manager Mauricio Pochettino will no doubt have allowed himself a wry smile, and rightly so.

Since taking over the White Hart Lane club at the start of the season, Pochettino has increasingly put his faith in Tottenham’s young guns, assembling a starting XI that this season has had an average age of just 24 years and 307 days - the youngest in the Premier League. Most recently, against QPR, his side had an average age of just 23 years and 291 days, the youngest named in the division this season.


What has become apparent is that as the season rolls on, Pochettino’s teams are getting younger: the average age of Spurs’ starting XI in their last four matches - which includes the QPR tie - have been four of the five youngest any Premier League club has put out this season. Could this be an indication that the Argentinian believes the extra energy provided by youngsters is required towards the end of a demanding season?

If that is Pochettino’s philosophy, it is not one shared by Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, who has not put out a team in the Premier League with an average age younger than 28. In fact, Pellegrini’s starting line-ups are, on average, the oldest in the division at 28 years and 297 days old - a full four years older than Spurs’ average starting XI - and gives weight to the idea that both his squad and City’s approach to developing young players may be in line for a significant overhaul this summer.

Pochettino is not the only manager to put his trust in youth. Since the turn of the year, Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers has named some of the most youthful sides in the division.

Following their game against his former employers Swansea at the end of December, Rodgers has not named a side with an average age of over 26. His faith has been repaid by an extension of Liverpool’s unbeaten run to 23 matches before they finally tasted defeat at the hands of Manchester United, and has contributed to Liverpool having the division’s second youngest average starting XI at 25 years and 195 days.

With both sides still jostling to qualify for European football next season, time will tell whether this philosophy of trusting younger players will pay off, but for now their young charges should enjoy their moment in the limelight.

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