The Premier League is not for everyone. Players who come from smaller leagues recognise this, often even players from teams promoted from the Championship. But perhaps the worst feeling is when you’ve had the league for a long time, but age gradually shifts performance downwards.
Ashley Young (38)
The second oldest outfield player to start in the PL this season. Young isn’t on Thiago Silva’s back for nothing as he was still performing at Premier League level last season. He has already played 17 games in the league this season, but he’s not quite there yet.
Whether he’s playing full-back or wing-back, he’s no longer keeping up with the pace on the line. Nowadays, every club in the league except perhaps Everton has a fast winger and Young is simply struggling. No points in 1,377 minutes is also a sad card.
Joel Ward (34)
When Crystal Palace’s problems are discussed, it is often mentioned that the Eagles can’t get rid of retired players after 30 years. They often don’t play regularly, but with little competition, coaches use them late in games at the expense of young talent.
Joel Ward has 16 starts. He’s a stopper, but plays primarily right tackle because that’s where the Eagles were pushed by the boot in the fall. But he played an unfashionable style of right tackle, basically a third stopper, only on the edge. If Crystal Palace doesn’t get rid of players like that, its football will continue to be boring.
James Tomkins (34)
Tomkins doesn’t play much anymore, but he simply has to go. He’s still a fourth-choice stopper who may be next in line when injuries strike. Send him off in the summer, preferring to finally work Rob Holding and young American Chris Richards into the squad.
Aaron Cresswell (33)
Was key in the Hammers rise, but now age is showing on the left edge of defence. Cresswell won’t get much of a kick over Emerson and is shaping up as the ideal player for the Championship. Fighting for mid-table and the play-offs might suit him, but he doesn’t have the speed for the PL anymore.
Wes Foderingham (33)
It’s easy to criticise the goalkeeper of a sovereign last team, but 57 goals conceded in 23 games is a lot. Foderingham occasionally pulls off a great save, but he doesn’t cover the bottom corners of the goal in the long term. You need a certainty to fight for England’s survival, and there isn’t one.
Source: Premier League
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