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The definition of youth

Dec 8, 2019
162
17
We often use the excuse that player X, Y or Z "is still young" or "just a kid", particularly last year but also sometimes this year with Coops and Jephcott.

However, when there are players on the global stage either similar ages or younger, such as Mbappe, Haaland, Foden, Vinicius and Pedri (the list goes on), is it just an easy excuse to use age because of the level we are at?

I know that clearly the mentioned names have had better coaching from a young age and are who they are for a reason, but you never hear people say Foden et Al had a bad game because they are young.

Only asking because I work with an arsenal fan (sadly) who was trying to use this argument for some of their failings over the years
 
Sep 7, 2021
6
0
We often use the excuse that player X, Y or Z "is still young" or "just a kid", particularly last year but also sometimes this year with Coops and Jephcott.

However, when there are players on the global stage either similar ages or younger, such as Mbappe, Haaland, Foden, Vinicius and Pedri (the list goes on), is it just an easy excuse to use age because of the level we are at?

I know that clearly the mentioned names have had better coaching from a young age and are who they are for a reason, but you never hear people say Foden et Al had a bad game because they are young.

Only asking because I work with an arsenal fan (sadly) who was trying to use this argument for some of their failings over the years
I have often thought the same but people 'mature' at different ages
 

The Doctor

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Sep 15, 2003
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First, I think you DO hear the 'youth' argument being used about these type of players at the top level sometimes.
Secondly, I think there is a bit of bias here - the young players at the very top level are at that level because they are exceptional cases - that's the reason you hear about them. There must be many examples of similar age players at big clubs who are not breaking into the first team and that will be, in part, because of their youth/lack of experience etc.
 
Dec 30, 2020
353
215
First, I think you DO hear the 'youth' argument being used about these type of players at the top level sometimes.
Secondly, I think there is a bit of bias here - the young players at the very top level are at that level because they are exceptional cases - that's the reason you hear about them. There must be many examples of similar age players at big clubs who are not breaking into the first team and that will be, in part, because of their youth/lack of experience etc.
yeah the original post is highly selective in the examples cited.

Taking a few other top players and where they were at the time of their 22nd birthday (Michael Cooper just had his, Jephcott’s is in the new year):

- Mohammed Salah - playing in Switzerland and just about to begin 2 years in Chelsea reserves

- Kevin De Bruyne - midway through a 2 year spell with Chelsea reserves

- Bruno Fernandes - playing for Sampdoria, mid table in Serie A, with a career high of 4 goals in a season

Again, these are just anecdotal examples but I think they’re more reflective of the general experience than Mbappe & Haaland who are widely understood to be prodigiously and unusually advanced for their age.

So I think the exact opposite of the OP - we are far too harsh on players of 21/22 who are already good enough to compete tolerably well at League 1 level and at an age where they are likely to get much, much better.