hammersk wrote:When you look at the teams above and around us in the league,
there are lots of younger (and teen-age) players making more significant
contributions than ours are.
...even at Spurs.
That's a very good point. I was very disappointed that we had no players in senior, U21 and U20 England squads except Potts who is playing at a very unfashionable left-back position. But if (academy wise speaking) Palace's Zaha and Liverpool's Sterling and Ince are country's best prospects, we'll be in a lot of trouble in a 5 years time.
To be honest, we need to accept that maturity takes precedence over experimentation at our club right now. And that choice was the difference between finishing just above relegation zone (such as Villa) and 10th place. I understand people would like to see 19-year olds tearing the league apart but it's not possible right now. Sure, if you played Hall and Turgott 38 times this season you would get one or two curlers in the top corner but it wouldn't have been pretty when we played Man City or Liverpool because we'd get ripped apart on the wings because these youngsters are still babies in terms of development - they don't know how to defend properly and defence is what mattered when we nicked points here and there. I was furious at times at Sam for playing older players instead of giving youngsters a chance but the more you watch the team under him, the more you understand. In reality, Academy doesn't have polished diamonds right now which would be worth the risk if you threw them into the battlefield that Premier League is.
Sam has built an above average squad for peanuts. 2 centre backs are young (Tomkins & Reid), so are our wings (Vaz Te & Jarvis), our centre forward (Carroll) and our defensive midfield pairing (Noble & Diame). So is Adrian who is expected to be our first keeper after this season.
We don't spend much on full backs because 1) it's a position where experience matters and 2) best players are worth upwards of £15m which we can't afford and 3) Sam loves a bargain. Only other notable "old" player is Nolan who is the heart of this team, the captain and scorer of 23 goals in the last two seasons, more than any other player.