RSC Anderlecht did not have the most memorable season this year, but it has certainly lived up to its promise in trusting its young players.
The team gave players under the age of 22, 46.8% of playing time on the field over the entire season, according to the International Centre for Sports Studies football observatory (CIES), based in Switzerland.
This high percentage places Anderlecht 24th in the world among the 1292 clubs in the first 93 football divisions analyzed.
The average playing time granted to players under 22 is 17.6% for the entire Belgian first division league.
In Europe, the Slovakian first division fields the most young players, with 29% of playing time entrusted to young players. The Dutch Eredivisie come next with 27.9%.
Among the five leading leagues in Europe, the French Ligue 1 had an average of 15% of playing time fielding young players, the German Bundesliga 9.8%, the English Premier League 8.5%, the Italian Serie A 7.7% and the Spanish La Liga 7%.
The club leading the ranking amongst countries first divisions is Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand. The club gave 93.3% of playing time to their young hopes during the last season.