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UEFA Nations League: England manager Gareth Southgate's youth policy
Last Updated: 30/08/18 11:20am
England manager Gareth Southgate has trusted his young stars to date - but how does he compare with predecessors for backing youth?
Eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill announced they wished to focus on club football - despite being only 31 and 32 years old, respectively.
The pair, along with Ashley Young, were the only members of Southgate's World Cup squad to be over 30 years old - with Young, ironically, being the oldest at 33.
Southgate's squad in Russia averaged at just 26 years and 25 days old - the fourth-youngest under any England manager at a major competition since the 1950s.
Roy Hodgson named a squad that was two months younger at Euro 2016, but the average age of his selections during a four-year tenure was raised from picking older members in 2014 and 2012.
Average England squad age in major competitions
|Manager||No. of major tournaments||Avg. squad age|
|Gareth Southgate||1||26 years, 1 months|
|Terry Venables||1||26 years, 3 months|
|Roy Hodgson||3||26 years, 4 months|
|Sven-Goran Eriksson||3||26 years, 5 months|
|Graham Taylor||1||27 years, 2 month|
|Walter Winterbottom||4||27 years, 3 months|
|Alf Ramsey||3||27 years, 3 months|
|Kevin Keegan||1||27 years, 4 months|
|Bobby Robson||3||27 years, 8 months|
|Glenn Hoddle||1||28 years, 1 month|
|Ron Greenwood||2||28 years, 5 months|
|Fabio Capello||1||28 years, 11 months|
Likewise, Sven-Goran Eriksson's England career ended with a leap of youthful faith in 2006, naming the youngest England squad for a major competition since 1958 - averaging at just 25 years and nine months old.
Four years later, Fabio Capello selected the oldest squad, with David James (39 years old), Jamie Carragher (32), Emile Heskey (32), Frank Lampard (31), Matthew Upson (31), Steven Gerrard (30) and Robert Green (30) all on the wrong side of 30.
Southgate led England to their greatest World Cup run in 28 years this summer with a side averaging two-and-a-half years younger than Bobby Robson's heroes in 1990.
Nearly two years after taking the reigns following Sam Allardyce's departure, seven of Southgate's 18 debutants have been aged 21 or under - including the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
|Debutant||Age at debut|
There are fresh openings for new, young blood among Southgate's emerging group after the departures of Vardy and Cahill - and the UEFA Nations League is an ideal stage to make a mark.
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