Spurs one of three Premier League sides NOT to play an U21 this season

Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Fulham are the only three sides in the Premier League NOT to have played an U21 player this season, reveals CIES study

  • Striker Dane Scarlett, 17, played one minute against West Brom back in February
  • That extremely short cameo was not included in the study, released on Monday 
  • Wolves, Sheffield United and Arsenal come out on top in the table’s rankings

Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Fulham are the only Premier League sides not to play any players younger than 21 in the top-flight this season, a CIES study has shown.

The CIES Football Observatory report, released on Monday, displays the percentage of domestic league minutes by footballers under 21, spanning 999 clubs in 71 top-tier divisions.

And the London-based trio are among only seven in Europe’s big five divisions – England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy – not to field an U21 player in the league, in a damning indictment of a lack of opportunities at the top of English football. 

Tottenham are one of the only three Premier League sides not to play an U21 player this season

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs are ranked joint-bottom, with 0.0 per cent of minutes played by U21 players, although young defenders  Japhet Tanganga, 22, and Joe Rodon, 23, have made 13 league appearances between them this season.

Teenage striker Dane Scarlett, 17, came off the bench for an extremely brief cameo against West Bromwich Albion back in February but this was not included in the study, although Scarlett and Alfie Devine, 16, were blooded in domestic cups.

Scott Parker’s relegation-threatened Cottagers have not played a single U21 player in the league, but the average age of their squad is 25.8 years, the second youngest in the division, behind Aston Villa.

Dane Scarlett, 17, made a brief cameo against West Brom but this was not included in the study

Eagles boss Roy Hodgson – the eldest in the division at 73 – has named young players including Reece Hannam and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi on the bench, sparking hope they might see first-team action before the end of the season with safety all but secured.

West Ham have the third-oldest squad on average and only escaped joint-bottom spot in the study due to a handful of games to full-back Ben Johnson before he turned 21 in January, with 0.5 per cent of their league minutes given to U21 players. 

Wolves, Sheffield United and Arsenal came out on top of the study, with young Wolves attackers Pedro and Fabio Silva and Arsenal midfielder Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe contributing to their strong records.

Borussia Dortmund were the side in Europe’s top five leagues with the most minutes for U21s with 28.5 per cent closely followed by French teams Nice, Monaco and Rennes with 24.3, 24.1 and 20.7 per cent respectively.

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