Leeds United out to prove you can win things with kids as age stat revealed
Leeds United have named a couple of line-ups this season that have drawn memories of a famous quote from Liverpool great Alan Hansen.
Speaking back in August 1995 after a youthful Manchester United side had been beaten by Aston Villa, Hansen was asked about the Red Devils’ squad.
His reply went down in football folklore and has become used in regular parlance. “You can’t win anything with kids” (BBC Sport) is what he said as part of his punditry on Match of the Day.
An apology here to all Leeds fans reading for the reminder that, well, it turns out you can win things with kids and you can win quite a lot.
Man United’s famed class of ’92 was out in force. Gary Neville (aged 20), Paul Scholes (20), Ryan Giggs (21), Phil Neville (18), Nicky Butt (20) all started, while there were substitute appearances from David Beckham (20) and John O’Kane (20).
That season, despite that early Villa setback, they would go on to win a Premier League and FA Cup double.
Leeds are, sadly, in a vastly different scenario in 2023 having been relegated from the Championship last season. But a stat revealed by LeedsLive reporter Beren Cross shows the ideology from Daniel Farke is not too different.
Cross revealed that Farke’s line-up for the 2-1 win over Bristol City on Saturday (7 October) had an average age of 23.6 years. The reporter added that Farke’s assertion that it must be one of the club’s youngest XIs in decades was incorrect as their line-up to face Sheffield Wednesday last month was 22.8.
But he also shared that the last time a side younger than that was fielded by Leeds was back in October 2000 by David O’Leary for a fixture at Manchester United of all clubs. That team had an average age of 22.5.
The lack of experience was highlighted by the fact Pascal Struijk, aged 24, was handed the captain’s armband against Bristol City.
Whether a lack of older statement will show as the season progress only time will tell. Some will argue that a side battling for promotion could do with a few more older heads.
Others will be delighted with the long-term thinking and the vibrancy this team is showing. By the second international break Leeds are fifth in the table, a position most would have taken at this stage after a hectic summer.
Who knows, come May maybe Farke will have proven – like Ferguson did all those years ago – that you can win things with kids.
In other Leeds United news, one Sky Sports journalist has mooted an England spot for Archie Gray at Euro 2028.