Issue number 349 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks teams from 72 top divisions worldwide according to the average age of line-ups fielded in the current season and the percentage of minutes played by footballers who did not yet celebrate their 21st birthday. Monaco played so far with the youngest line-ups in the five major European leagues (24.3 years), while Bayer Leverkusen fielded U21 players for the highest percentage of minutes (24%).
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Raffaele Poli
Roger Besson
Loïc Ravenel
Thomas Gonzalez

With 23% of domestic league minutes played by U21 footballers, Barcelona ranks second in the big-5 ahead of four French Ligue 1 teams (Nice, Rennes, Marseille and Reims). Arsenal fielded so far the youngest line-ups in the English Premier League (25.0 years), while Spezia did so in the Italian Serie A (24.8 years) and Real Sociedad in the Spanish Liga (25.5 years). At the opposite end for each big-5 league are Lazio (30.3), Elche (29.9), Burnley (29.3), Bochum (28.7) and Clermont Foot (28.0).

The Latvian side FK Metta fielded the youngest line-ups overall (20.2 years on average) and the Armenians of BKMA Yerevan top the table for the highest percentage of domestic league minutes played by U21 footballers (79%). On the contrary, 89 of the 1’041 teams surveyed did not field any U21 player, among which Wolfsburg, Newcastle United, Atlético Madrid, Juventus, West Ham United, Rangers FC, Trabzonspor, Mamelodi Sundowns, Columbus Crew and Al Hilal SFC.

Average age on the pitch

Season 2021/22, top division domestic league matches until 23/09, 72 countries worldwide