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Swann happy with England blend

Graeme Swann believes England’s mixture of youth and experience can help to inspire a fourth consecutive Ashes triumph.

Swann, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Matt Prior, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Stuart Broad and captain Alastair Cook are veterans of the previous three wins against the old enemy, with all but the latter two north of 30 as they prepare to renew cricket’s most enduring rivalry.

Yorkshire trio Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance, Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes and two-time Ashes winner Steven Finn add a youthful edge to the touring party and Swann believes any 'Dad’s Army' jibes would be somewhat misplaced.

"I don't think we need to worry about the age of the team - I think I'm the oldest," said the 34-year-old off-spinner.

"It's not like we're all pushing the boundaries. If the oldest player is that age, it's not like you're all ready for the Home Guard yet."

"We've got to make sure we've always got the likes of Bairstow and Root coming through to become those senior players of the future.

"I think we've got an exciting blend of youth and experience at the minute. That's one of the reasons why I'm confident going into this Ashes series."

Swann missed the internationals in New Zealand earlier this year after undergoing elbow surgery and England were dealt a reminder of the stresses and strains of top-level competition this week after Prior and Pietersen were assessed for respective calf and knee complaints.

"Most players, especially older guys, tend to carry niggles all the time," Swann said. "But they don't like to let anybody know about them, they keep them to themselves.

"These are just on-going injury things that most players have and, luckily, if you've got an on-going thing you know how to manage it, how to treat it."

"Obviously, I've got my elbow that keeps rearing its head every now and then, so that's something I have to work on. Kev's got his leg issues.

"It is natural progression of time. As you get older, your body doesn't respond to as much work as well.

"That's why you don't see too many international sportsmen in their 40s - at least performing at the top of their game.

"It is something we've got to be aware of, got to stay on top of."

Swann believes England players old and young set the standards the class of 2013 must meet over the coming months on their last tour Down Under and predicts a torrid time for their hosts if Cook’s men are able to attain the same levels of performance.

He added: "The biggest message is we're desperate to play as well as we did on that last Ashes tour.

"If we do play as well as that, I can't see any team touching us.

"That was probably the perfect performance from us for at least four of the Test matches. So we'll be chasing that same level this time round."

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