Premier League

The kids aren't alright: EPL ranked bottom for offering minutes to young players

Since 2015, only 7.8% of all minutes played were by players 21 or younger - the lowest of the Big Five Leagues

6:45pm on Friday 25th September 2020
Martin Macdonald

The Premier League has ranked among the lowest leagues in the world for the number of minutes played by players aged 21 or younger.

The CIES Football Observatory reports this week that just 7.8% of all the minutes played in the English top flight between the 2015/16 season to now were played by those 21 or younger.

Not only is that the lowest of the top five elite leagues, but it is one of the lowest counts for the top 80 ranked leagues in the world.


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The Estonian Meistriliiga has ranked best with 31.1% of minutes being given to young players, with the Latvian Virsliga in second (27.2%) and the Slovenian 1. SNL in third (26.4%).

Only six top-flight leagues out of the 80 rank worst than the Premier League - Greece, Korea Republic, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China.

The Chinese Super League has ranked last with 3.9% of minutes being given to those under 21 and out of the top five leagues, Ligue 1 ranks the best with 15.4%.

Top 10 leagues with most minutes for U21s

Meistriliiga (Estonia)31.1%998
Virsliga (Latvia)27.2%624
1. SNL (Slovenia)26.4%913
Super Liga (Slovakia)25.1%949
Meistaradeildin (Faroe Islands)25.1%766
Divizia Naționala (Moldova)25%655
LPF (Panama)23.9%893
Eredivisie (Netherlands)23.8%1488
Erovnuli Liga (Georgia)22.9%929
First League (Montenegro22.9%929

Elite leagues - most minutes given to U21s

Ligue 1 (France)15.4%1826
Bundesliga (Germany)13.1%1530
Serie A (Italy)9.3%1900
La Liga (Spain)9%1907
Premier League (England)7.1%1908

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