By Dave Langton
West Ham are paying the price for the age of their squad.
The Hammers are spending the international break languishing in the bottom three after their defeat to Everton at Goodison Park last time out.
Boss David Moyes has continually spoken of his desire to bring the average age of the squad down and to attempt to sign players who can inject youth and verve into the side.
But at this stage, it looks like the Hammers are, mostly, a group of old men in football terms!
The average age of the squad is 27.6, which, per Transfermarkt, makes the Irons the joint-oldest team in the division, along with newly-promoted Fulham.
The youngest player in the first-team squad is 22 – Conor Coventry and Ben Johnson – but there are seven players who are 30 or older: Vlad Coufal, Aaron Cresswell, Mikey Antonio, Craig Dawson, Angelo Ogbonna, Darren Randolph, Lukasz Fabianski. Without Randolph, all of those players are in contention to play regularly.
The new signings have gone some way to remedying this: Gianluca Scamacca and Flynn Downes are 23, Maxwel Cornet and Lucas Paqueta are 25, Thilo Kehrer and Nayef Aguerd are 26, Emerson is 28 and Alphonse Areola is 29.
But there is no real verve in these signings; no truly exciting prospects to get you out of your seat.
Look at the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, who have teenagers who look ready to make the jump into the first-team, and you begin to get a picture of why the Hammers are losing games, and are being outrun to boot.
It’s a genuine concern, and we need to find a way, in future transfer windows, to sort it out.
Might be easier to get the average age down if virtually all of our home grown young prospects didn’t want to leave as soon as they break through. Mind you, even if they did stay, Moyes wouldn’t play them. Perhaps there’s a link there??!
So the Hammers, Dave’s Army, are really Dad’s Army! It is a real concern, as journo Dave has pointed out. And we can blame Moyes for that as well. The honeymoon appears to be well and truly over.
If we get relegated it will be catastrophic for the club’s finances, bearing in mind how much has been spent in the summer on new players. I hope Moyes can get his act together and make better decisions regarding his team selection and his tactics. Not turning up until the second half of each game is not a tactic that seems to do much for results!
Moyse has had youngsters that could have stepped up but his refusal to gu e them minutes o the pitch has seen our best young talent heading for the exit.
He’s signed youngsters but again refuses to use them. Take Flynn Downes for example. Played really well against FCSB but hasn’t had a single minute since. Instead we he has used a below par Soucek.
The old guard are being wrecked by the need to play every game week in week out.
Even Southgate can see that and had been resting Rice because he’s so exhausted. If he can see it why can’t Moyse?
37 year old goalkeeper who shouldn’t be number 1 does not obviously help. Dinosaur.
To be fair to Moyes, how many of our departed youth have gone on to have successful top flight careers? Cullen?
Moyes doesn’t trust “unproven” players because they might contribute to a loss. Moyes biggest failing (as with many a manager) is coaching ‘not to lose’. It keeps them employed, but it doesn’t generally win trophies. Win or lose, his football bores me, and I don’t believe he’s doing anything special that other managers couldn’t do better. As Hugh has pointed out, great Head Coach, lousy Club Manager.
Whilst the average age of the squad is higher than it should be, that in itself doesn’t account for the lack of effort as show by the running stats this season.