Euro 2020 comment: You never win anything with kids - try telling that the England players

IF you ‘can’t win anything with kids’ then Turkey, England and Wales are in big trouble at the European Championship.

Young Lion: Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and Gareth Southgate. Picture: Getty Images
Young Lion: Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and Gareth Southgate. Picture: Getty Images

They are the three youngest squads in the tournament so if you are taking an ageist look at proceedings then Belgium, Sweden or Slovakia should be among the favourites to lift the trophy at Wembley next month.

However, the above quote made by Alan Hansen spectacularly backfired on the Match of the Day commentator in 1995 after Manchester United lost their opening day Premier League match to Aston Villa.

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Red Devils manager Alex Ferguson merely used the comment from Hansen, a Liverpool legend who won eight First Division titles, two FA Cups and three European Cup crowns during his playing career, as motivation for his young side.

Bright hope: England's manager Gareth Southgate, right, talks with England's youngest player Jude Bellingham.

Manchester United would subsequently not lose again until November, against Arsenal, with just two losses after the New Year, as they managed to overhaul Newcastle United in the title race to lift the Premier League.

In addition, they defeated Hansen’s beloved Liverpool 1-0 to take the FA Cup at Wembley.

Just like policemen, Gareth Southgate’s squads also seem to be getting younger.

At the European Championship, only Turkey have a younger group than England who have an average age of 25 years and three months.

England manager Alf Ramsey: Celebrating his team's 4-2 victory in extra time over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley. With him are captain Bobby Moore and Nobby Stiles. Picture: Getty Images

They also fielded the most inexperienced and the third youngest squad at the 2018 World Cup with an average age of just over 26 years but manager Southgate’s squad did not fare too badly, reaching the semi-finals.

Kieran Trippier put them on course with a fifth-minute opener but, having defied most expert predictions by progressing so far, England’s bid to reach a first World Cup final since 1966 came to an agonising end as they lost in extra-time to Croatia in Moscow.

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute of the semi-final, slotting home from a flick on from Ivan Perisic, who had scored the 68th-minute equaliser.

France, however, were even younger than England and they lifted the trophy, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final in Russia.

England manager Fabio Capello: Experience did not help his side.

Antoine Griezmann struck twice in the first half, Croatia having deservedly equalised courtesy of Perisic. Two goals in six minutes from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe either side of the hour-mark gave France the cushion required before Mandzukic hit back for Croatia.

Experience over youth then often does not count for much as former Three Lions chief Fabio Capello found out to his cost.

In 2010, he named the oldest and most experienced, in terms of caps, squad England had ever sent to a World Cup at 28 years and seven months and they went out at the second round stage in South Africa.

The 4-1 exit to Germany, however, was most notable for Frank Lampard’s 20-yard strike being ruled out even though the ball had clearly crossed the line – where was VAR then?

England’s previous oldest squad at a World Cup had been in 1954 with an average of 28 years and four months but it included Stanley Matthews, who was then 39!

So, what was the average age of the only England team to lift a major trophy?

In 1966, Alf Ramsey’s World Cup winners boasted an average age of 26 years and five months.