Is football getting even younger?

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Is age nothing but a number when it comes down to professional football? Probably not considering the toll it takes on your bodies when having to perform at the highest level for a number of years.

Indeed, each top-flight across every single country is very different and perhaps demands different aspects from the game than, say, another league would demand. Fans will also want to see the very best as they place their bets through the portal once the football returns.

However, one man is showing that he can still play the game and do outrageous things at the young age of 40.

A video started to circulate on social media over the weekend of Odense BK’s assistant manager, Henrik Hansen, scoring a wonderful chip to give his side a point against FC Copenhagen.

In fact, he is not the only one over the age of 40 to have scored since football had to be played in a new era that means matches need to be behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.

K-League’s opener between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Samsung Bluewings only had one goal to mention, however that was scored by the wily Lee Dong-gook, a 41-year-old who spent a year at Middlesbrough when they were in the Premier League.

Yet, if you travel just across the Sea of Japan, you’ll find the oldest active professional footballer and also the oldest player to have scored a goal in a competitive match, Kazuyoshi Miura. The 53-year-old currently plays his football for Yokohama FC and recently extended his contract for another year in January.

Admittedly, those leagues are nowhere near the standard and physicality that most other competitions around the world are and when taking a look at the Premier League as an example, it’s rather rare to see a player hit his mid-30s and still remain crucial, let alone still be around in his late-30s and early-40s.

When looking at the data that is provided by TransferMarkt, Crystal Palace have the oldest squad based on average age, although that is only 30-years-old, whereas Arsenal have the youngest squad at 25.6-years-old. Those figures, combined with the other 18 teams that make up the Premier League, show that an average squad is around the age of 27.3 years.

Further analysis shows that average figure is approximately the same in La Liga (27.7), with Eibar (30.1) and Real Sociedad (26.0) at either end of the spectrum, whilst Serie A also boasts an average of 27.5, with Juventus at 29.7 and Fiorentina at 25.7.

Interestingly, though perhaps not a surprise, the Bundesliga is even younger than the aforementioned elite European leagues. Their average squad age sits at a juvenile 26 years, with Borussia Monchengladbach the oldest at 27.7 and Red Bull Leipzig with the youngest squad of 23.6 years.

So, it goes to show, that age is more than just a number when it comes down to playing at a high-level and players approaching their mid-to-late 30s may have to think about dropping down a league or two.

One thing we can probably guarantee, though, is that it is highly unlikely we’ll be seeing a Hansen, Dong-gook or Miura-aged player showing whether they still have it or not any time soon in the Premier League when it returns.