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FPL Tips: Gamble on £4.5M Ashley Young for Unique Early Edge

FPL Tips: Gamble on £4.5M Ashley Young for Unique Early  Edge

The 2023/24 Premier League season is now upon us and thus started the beginning of nine months of football bonanza, but also the start of a lot of headaches for Fantasy Premier League managers. Indeed, the FPL madness has also begun with the new campaign kicking off and many are left scratching their heads over how to create the ‘perfect’ team.

A major source of headaches for managers all around is when it comes to picking defenders and goalkeepers. The former, particularly, can become tricky because not many FPL managers like spending big amounts on filling their five defensive slots.

The dilemma with low-cost FPL defenders

In fact, many users (like myself) love to play with a three-at-the-back system for a key reason. And that is mostly because it allows us to field either more midfielders or an extra forward to get maximum points.

Some quintessential defenders (like 8.0 Trent Alexander-Arnold or 6.5 Kieran Trippier) take up a chunk of the points and force FPL managers to look at smart, cheap defensive options.

Now, most of the top-half teams’ defenders (at least those featuring prominently) are over the 5.0 mark. There is often a need for a user to pick one or more 4.5 or even 4.0 defenders to complete their team. Amid all this, let us present to you a really smart 4.5 defensive option for the early weeks of the campaign.

That is none other than Everton’s new signing Ashley Young. The former Manchester United captain has been a mainstay in the Premier League and FPL for over 16 years now and was picked up by Sean Dyche’s side on a free.

A versatile, experienced individual who can play in a variety of situations, Young can actually be an underrated option for any FPL manager due to his low 4.5 rating.

How could Young thrive at Everton?

Even though he is in the final stretch of his career, Young has enough experience and knowledge of the Premier League games to bring something to Everton. He’s proven himself well capable of playing in either full-back position in recent years after losing his pace to thrive as a winger.

The Englishman has all the strengths that can fit in really well into the system that Dyche has implemented at the Merseyside club. Granted that he isn’t the most physically or aerially strong, but Young possesses other skills that can help him stand out.

The ex-Man United captain is a set-piec expert who gained a reputation for his pinpoint, looping crosses from deadball situations or from the wings. Under Dyche, Everton have implemented the ‘Burnley style’ of pinging long balls into the box for their forwards or defenders (in set-pieces) to pounce upon.

Young can be perfect in this, as he knows how to send in inviting crosses that can cause chaos in the box. As a result, he’s likely to create a lot of Everton’s chances in their early games. The Toffees have actually been given decent startig games to the campaign, as they face teams like Fulham, Wolves, Aston Villa and Sheffield United in their first four games – with two being at home.

Why Young stands out in the 4.5 range category

It’s not that the 4.5 category doesn’t have some solid, reliable options in it. The likes of Aston Villa man Tyrone Mings or Newcastle United defender Sven Botman are poised to start their games and are obviously playing for teams much stronger than Everton.

But with the new injury times kicking in, it’ll definitely impact their chances of getting those extra clean sheet points. As its clear, the new injury time rules will hit the centre-backs pretty hard because it’ll lead to fewer clean sheets and could force tired centre-backs into making late mistakes that could get them booked too.

However, when it comes to creative full-backs like Young, an added advantage is their ability to pop up with something special. The 38-year-old is coming off a solid pre-season with Everton in which he scored a goal for them too. He is going to feature prominently for Dyche’s side, be it starting games or coming off as an impact substitute – which is a key category to consider in FPL this time.

As a result, Young has a greater prospect of getting 3 or 4+ points than the centre-backs or other lowly defenders in the 4.5 price range. On top of that, he could also bag more on getting clean sheets.

Young isn’t able to be a regular 90-minute star anymore, so there’s a chance that Dyche substitutes him after 60 minutes in games he starts – which could bag him extra points if Everton doesn’t concede when he’s on the pitch and then go onto lose after he’s taken off.

The Englishman started 23 games for Villa last season, helping them keep 9 clean sheets. He had a creative threat of 223.4 and influence of 380.2 – which both show him being a valuable low-price option in FPL.

The great thing about a 4.5 defender is that an FPL user can bench them for the tough games and then play them against ‘easier’ opponents. With Everton having considerably less damning early matches, Young can be a gamble worth taking in that 4.5 category.

The 38-year-old isn’t the kind anymore to consistently perform through a 38-game season. However, he currently has that ‘new signing’ boost to him and could bring something new to Everton’s games which could take some time for opponents to unravel.

The Englishman with 422 Premier League appearances and 71 assists definitely knows how to contribute and sneaking him in as a gamble in your FPL team could help you stay ahead of the curve when Young bags a few extra points in his early games for Everton.