First and foremost Happy Birthday Roy on your 63rd Birthday.
The title might be controversial however it was one of the comments I came across as talk of upcoming Liverpool signings hit the press. Somehow we got spiraled into this mentality that the squad has to be a certain age to compete but in many cases a mixture of experience and youth could be the best formula for a long competitive season.
I must confess that I admire how Manchester United have been able to keep their old players like Giggs, Scholes, Neville & Ferdinand and keep building the team around them. The presence of the veterans ensures continuality, provides the youngsters with mentors and they (the veterans) can always be called upon on when the chips are down or when you have a nervy game. All we have to do is look back at Istanbul and see how Vladi and Didi rose to the occasion and were instrumental in turning things around. Everyone seems to droll over how young the Arsenal squad is but we have all seen how Wenger’s kids have deflated as the season progresses, it is obvious something is missing in the formula.
Roy’s only signing so far has been Joe Cole (Jova, Jonjo & Wilson can be considered to be Rafa’s signings) and at the age of 28 (soon to be 29) he is considered by some as ‘old’. Now Poulsen, Brad Jones and Crouch might be close to signing while Jamie Carragher is being offered a new contract. Hodgson even admitted in trying to sign Hyypia, it is obvious that Roy is opting for older players.
The reason for this is probably two-fold.
1) We can’t afford the younger stars as the transfer fees for these is usually very high.
2) Roy likes what he sees in the reserves and academy and wants a few players to hold down the fort until the youngsters come of age. Honestly, if we bring in 2 or 3 players who are around 22-23 years old what will happen to the likes of Pacheco, Eccleston, Mavinga, Sterling, Ince, Amoo & Suso? They will probably be tired of lack of first team action and move away. By having the older players in place they can all be given a few first team chances until they fully develop and are ready for full-time first team duty.
Maybe I am also bias in my old age as I tend to get excited when I see players who are only 5 years younger then me still playing :-)