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Huddersfield Town's win at Crystal Palace proves Premier League experience means nothing

Examiner Football Writer Blake Welton argues unproven quality is a dangerous weapon for David Wagner to have

Huddersfield Town players celebrate in front of their fans after the final whistle at Crystal Palace.

Before Huddersfield Town ’s emphatic win at Selhurst Park, one of the many criticisms David Wagner ’s men faced was the side had a lack of top-flight experience.

It’s a common-held accusation, not just in football but in most aspects of everyday life, that having ‘experience’ means you immediately have superior quality in comparison to your peers or rivals.

Yet there is no distinguishing between this ‘experience’ – which can both be good and bad, with the latter being just as formulating as a positive one.

If you're good enough, you're old enough - Michael Owen scoring for England against Argentina during World Cup 1998.

The Premier League has been littered with examples where bold decisions were made outside the usual tried-and-tested methods when there was a step into the unknown.....the Class of ‘92, Arsene Wenger ’s appointment at Arsenal , Michael Owen ’s ‘Good Enough, Old Enough’ when he burst onto the scene for England .

As more money has been poured into the game, risk-aversion may have set in but last weekend showed encouraging signs, not just with Town but also Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to blood Tottenham Hotspur youngster Kyle Walker-Peters on the Sunday away clash at Newcastle United.

The same weekend, Crystal Palace ’s Jason Puncheon led the side out against Town for the first time since being named captain over the summer, coinciding with his 150th competitive appearance for the Eagles.

Despite a wealth of Premier League experience, Puncheon and his teammates were positively schooled by Town’s young bucks – led by a head coach who just under two years ago had no previous experience of English football.

Owner Dean Hoyle set a precedent with the appointment of Wagner in November 2015 – one that has been repaid over and over, and it is apparent the 45-year-old German boss is more than happy to ‘pay it forward’ as well - by trusting and relying on relatively inexperienced players to undertake the task in hand.

Speaking after the game, Wagner was keen to reinforce the point, appearing irked by the previous accusations of what inexperience may bring.

“In terms of the Premier League, only Tom Ince had ever played in the Premier League,” said Wagner after the 3-0 win in South London.

“Experience is important but other things are more important - we’ve shown that if you are focused on yourself, experience is not the most important thing.

“All of them adapted very quickly to the Premier League; into the speed and challenges and were brave enough when they had the ball, trying to create something. They did wonderfully to do that without Premier League experience.”

Indeed, a lack of Premier League experience in the majority of the playing squad could conceivably be beneficial to the side – playing without fear and pre-conceived perceptions of the top-flight, as well as having the threat of being ‘an unknown quantity.’

Of course, Huddersfield Town are not totally devoid of Premier League experience – Dean Whitehead, signing a new one-year contract over the summer , will help guide the likes of promising youngster Philip Billing through the potential pitfalls that may come.

Although having more than 200 Premier League appearances to his name, his influence will more than likely feature most heavily in and around the dressing room as opposed to on the field – much like that of Mark Hudson .

Dean Whitehead and Mark Hudson celebrate winning the SkyBet Championship Play-Off final with Huddersfield Town.

The former captain calling time on his playing career on the eve of the new campaign to concentrate on coaching , was hardly the most surprising news of the summer.

But, like Whitehead, his presence around the club and, fresh from finishing his professional career, will be an invaluable bridge between staff and players, much as Andrew Hughes has been in recent seasons.

With an average squad age of just 25, there is plenty more to come from Huddersfield Town’s young buccaneers and, with the right guidance and a continued hunger and desire to succeed, Saturday’s performance is surely a pre-cursor of what is to come.

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