A conflict of opinions, a dilemma, an unresolved error – Should one consider playing the academy graduate or trust the ageing veteran with minutes? The classic love story – club loves player, player loves club. In steps another interest, younger, more athletic and with a hunger for trophies. The Triangle is now complete. We now seek a villain, but there’s already one present – Age.
A player’s contributions towards a club have since ages been considered the absolute epitome of dedication and loyalty, the likes of which stand simply incomparable to any other mortal attribute. When comparisons spring up in terms of statistical impact, one may find a slight tilt towards the preference of young talent being presented, definitively seen to ensure the club’s future being secure.
The importance of XP
However one may notice that in times of the “Big Crunch”, there seems to be no better resource than that of an experienced warrior within the camp, one who has been witness to the wounds of war, the ruins of battle, the bitter grief of loss, and the glory of victory. This goes without saying that the presence of an increased number of veterans creates some discomfort, an angst arising from within the tight-lipped dressing rooms, of a complete suppression of talent not explicitly following the know-hows of a club ’s on-pitch system.
Is this really so? Do the Glorified Echelons of experience actually consider their priceless possession of developed muscle memory of the club’s system to be their potential claim to the crown?
Modern football firmly iterates with a “NO!”. On the contrary, veterans have proven to be the jewels of a dying trade, their precocity acting as the potential difference between victory and defeat. While this may seem futile when it comes to Big-Margin winning superstar teams, a huge chunk of upper mid-table teams rely wholeheartedly on their precious heirlooms to deliver in times of desperate need.
Naming a veteran whose impact has revolutionized the game of football will leave this list running until the very ends of time, however a few noteworthy mentions are – Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Fernando Torres, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gigi Buffon, Lucio, Dani Alves, Andrea Barzagli, De Rossi, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech among others.
These legendary names have over the years proven that the concept of ageing proving to be more fruitful isn’t restricted to wine. A playful assist sending defenders into a frenzy, a well-timed tackle causing the attacker to look clueless in a mawkish fashion, a first touch as delicate as the first slicing of a caramel custard, an eagle-eye anticipation saving the penalty shot, and a mathematically flawless Finish into the back of the net sending opponents into a mass surrender. How often do we recall these moments where some of the names mentioned above have been responsible? Almost Always!
Effect of the presence of senior players on younger ones
While the above may highlight the importance of a Senior Player being a requisite, One cannot deny the facts staring straight into the eyes of the onlooker – Diminishing Minutes for the 20 odd-year old, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to don the colors that bear the crest of the club he dreams of playing for. The Universe of Football Surely hasn’t found an equation of absolute Equilibrium where talent, consistency, balance and knowledge hold hands and walk the shores of delightful Team football.
Seemingly Maleficent to the younger generation in terms of Flair and pace, The idea of playing in corroboration to the philosophies of almost every club has met an evolved competitor – All out table-topping, Trophy winning, aggressive competition. Players have evolved, their styles have become immune to the past traps and with technology at the pedal, one would require a laser-like precision in jotting down names to finalize a suitable and adaptable playing XI.
Youngsters bring in an entirely new dimension to a team’s tactical approach to a game. Longevity is seen as one of the main factors that contribute a team’s desire of wanting a good number of youngsters committed to the future demands of the club.
Clubs purchasing hyped young talents-A risky affair?
Clubs have seen systems of success collapse overnight and develop a hiatus when it comes to winning trophies. Domestic Titles, European Titles, Domestic Cups – The exploits are scattered around the place. Teams can’t seem to find the special combination where they go on an “All glory or nothing” streak.
Investing in young talent in this era of football simply doesn’t come cheap. Thanks to the inflated market, players signed now have wages equivalent to transfer fees as compared to a decade ago.
But Teams with big pockets seem to prefer investing in younger talent, hoping for a butterfly of the rainbow to pop out of this very expensive cocoon. It’s been noticed that in the past academy graduates from top clubs seemed to have a lower amenability of being part of a patiently growing team system, however every uniquely talented academy graduate nowadays seems to have caught the attention of a top club and instead of being tempted by the system of play and adaptability, prefers being part of the system that would deepen his pockets.
A number of such talents have been lost to lower leagues, which were otherwise considered to be retirement homes for the veterans we discussed. Interactions between these groups could result in an advanced functioning liaison, one which would combine the thought process of the old system with the aggressive and instant brevity of the younger talent. Veterans have for sure left indelible prints on the hearts of club supporters and rivals alike, be it benevolently or impertinently.
A club management’s dilemma
When it comes to making a decision over age, managers find themselves struggling to cope with the demands of identifying foibles whilst simultaneously trying to maintain an altruistic relationship with the expectations of the fans. This sometimes results in an unfavorable outcome, where a reciprocation of the same decision at the time seemed rather absurd.
After all, a veteran can’t be expected to chaperone a team to glory with no worthy assistance from the team.
What they can however contribute despite not holding a truckload of minutes under their name, is the priceless tutelage that could cause an outburst of confidence to spring forth from within the younger colleagues that ultimately would lead to the better accomplishments of the team.
At the end of the day, each team follows the rulebook that at the present moment seems most accomplishable to them.The Conundrum of selecting XP over HP will forever be an unresolved equation in the world of football. For what Xp provides, hp cant gain, and What HP provides, xp cant replenish.
What’s your pick? Let us know below?
Veterans or Youngsters?
XP or HP?
Also, do not forget to read our article related to the Pjanic-Arthur Melo swap, a transfer which revolves around the XP and HP dilemma, here.