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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Rafa’s Rotation Policy – What The Players Think

8:42 am, Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 28 Comments

Rafa Benitez will rotate his players throughout this season and that’s been clearly communicated to both players and fans alike.

There are some good reasons for this – we have a big squad and it will give players some games and will also help cut down on injuries throughout the season since players will not be over-played.

It will keep our players fresh so the squad will not be depleted through injury or tired out towards the end of this tough season.


Rafa Benitez on the training pitch

It also keeps players on their toes and they are not guaranteed a starting place in every single game however badly they may have played in the previous game – which has happened far too much at Newcastle in the past.

Rafa has made it extra clear to his players there will be significant competition for places this season.

Nobody is guaranteed a place in the side – not even the captain Jamaal Lascelles – as we quickly found out this season after those initial two successive defeats.

Ciaran Clark has been interviewed today in the local press and he has talked about the policy and what the players think about it.

The Irish International also mentions the great 6-0 win a week ago at QPR:

“I think all the lads have bought into it. “That’s what the manager does. There’s a lot of competition for places.”

“I think we all know that if you haven’t been picked, it’s probably not for the reason you haven’t done well, it’s probably for the reason to get fresh legs in there and keep you fresh for the next game.”

“In the long term, that will help us in our bid for promotion. “It’s good to have a big squad and to have quality players fighting for spots in the team.”

“Everyone fully understands it.”

“It was nice to get the goal. First of all, as a defender, you try to make sure you keep goals out and keep clean sheets, but it’s always nice when you get on the end of one.”

“I think half the squad scored that night!”  “It was fantastic to get on score sheet, but the result was the most important thing.”

“It was a fantastic performance from the lads. We need to try concentrate on the games coming up.”

“For the players, supporters and the staff, it’s always nice, and builds confidence, if you can get a good cup run going.”

We expect Ciaran to be in the starting eleven tonight after he played so well last Tuesday night in London.

We need a win.

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Tags: Ciaran Clark · Coaching · Newcastle News · Rotation Policy · Training Ground

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Average_Contents // Sep 20, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    FB from previous

    Tbh, I’ve not seen lazarr play and refuse to look players up on YouTube as it’s mostly cobbled together of only their best bits so can’t comment on him but it’d be nice to see what he can do.

    Hope we smash them tonight.


  • 2 Average_Contents // Sep 20, 2016 at 8:49 AM


  • 3 Mag52 // Sep 20, 2016 at 8:57 AM

    Bearing in mind the frequency of games in the championship, the rotation policy is a good one.
    Even in the premiership, we were caught out many a time, because of injuries, suspensions etc, with playing players way out of position simply to get a full team out, and competition for every place in the starting eleven has got to be good.
    The downside of this is that, from time to time, the old saying that you shouldn’t change a winning team has to be ignored (QPR team changed to Wolves team).
    While this will upset some fans, providing we are making progress up the table and looking good for promotion, they will understand it is for the best in the long run.

  • 4 Jib // Sep 20, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    from prev
    Haidara looks fit enough in these training fotos from yesterday

  • 5 The overrated Frenchman // Sep 20, 2016 at 9:31 AM

    Mag52 – how the “rotation fixation” that saw a winning team against QPR turned into a fairly predictable basket case (given the forward set-up) against Wolves can be justified on any terms is beyond me. Yours truly, Upset Fan.

  • 6 estechco // Sep 20, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    Confirmed Rafa Bingo team:


    Yedlin Clark Mbemba Lazarr

    Shelvey Colback

    Gouffran Diame Atsu


  • 7 El Sleeve // Sep 20, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    team for tonight, or Rafa bingo as i think it’s now called!

    Yedlin – Lascelles – Clark – Lazaar
    ———Hayden – Shelvey
    —-Atsu — Perez — Gouffran

  • 8 El Sleeve // Sep 20, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    speaking to a Liverpool friend, who predicted the Wolves loss, said the rotation used to drive him mad because Rafa would always change a winning team. so far, i’d agree. When we’re winning, why makes wholesale changes, why not 2 or maximum 3? there was surely enough recovery time from Tuesday to Saturday?

  • 9 El Sleeve // Sep 20, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    this rotation lark aint as simple as in Football Manager, lol

  • 10 WWSBRD // Sep 20, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    El Sleeve
    How many did we change between QPR and Wolves?

  • 11 The overrated Frenchman // Sep 20, 2016 at 9:59 AM

    El Sleeve – ok, that’s enough now. Criticism of Rafa is not welcome here son.

  • 12 toonincheek // Sep 20, 2016 at 10:08 AM

    Seems to me you change things around regardless, whether because of a small squad and players play too often and get injured or a large squad and rotation.

    The last few managers are reported to have believed in selecting the team based on who has trained the best/hardest during the week.

    This surely leads to more injuries through overplaying, plus the energy levels of those players will be down at the weekend due to their exertions during the week

  • 13 YoungMagpieFromBurnley // Sep 20, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    Rafa bingo:


    Alot of changes, team I’d like to see.

  • 14 Markaccus // Sep 20, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    Congimed Rafa Bingo lineup

    Gamez – Lascelles – Hanley – Lazaar
    ———Diame– Colback
    —-Atsu — Perez — Gouffran

    I am not hopeful 😀

  • 15 Spotlight Kid // Sep 20, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Confirmed Rafa Rotation Bingo (the way it should be done):

    Gamez Mbemba Lascelles (c) Dummett;
    Shelvey Hayden;
    Ritchie Diame Perez;

    One enforced change from Saturday as Anita is (presumably) not available, No rotation, just a simple message –
    “OK, lads, you screwed it up on Saturday good and proper now go out there and put it right….”

  • 16 clinath@ed // Sep 20, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    The benefits of this rotation system will be felt after Christmas, when other teams are tiring and our squad is still fresh.
    Trust Rafa…he knows what he’s doing.

  • 17 toon22 // Sep 20, 2016 at 10:47 AM

    We all know Rafas going to rotate the squad so theres no point in getting upset about it,we need to accept it will happen as for it to stop means Rafas leaving……..

  • 18 Blofal // Sep 20, 2016 at 10:52 AM

    Rafa bingo..

    Gamez – Clarke – Hanley – Dummett
    Yedlin -Hayden – Colback – Ritchie
    ———–Gayle – Murphy

  • 19 outside the box // Sep 20, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    confirmed rafa bingo

    gamez hanley lascells dummmet
    shelvey colback
    yedlin diamme lazzar

    however the eslection i would like to see
    mbemba lascelles clark
    yedlin shelvey hayden colbeck ritchie
    murphy gayle

  • 20 Ron Knee // Sep 20, 2016 at 11:00 AM

    Loan deal for HBA in January (NOT at Newcastle)?

  • 21 JamesToon // Sep 20, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    Rafa bingo

    Yedlin Hanley Clark Lazaar
    Tiote Colback
    Atsu Gayle Gouffran

  • 22 YoungMagpieFromBurnley // Sep 20, 2016 at 11:10 AM

    Could also be Yedlin at rb with Gouffran going to lm.

  • 23 Budge123 // Sep 20, 2016 at 11:11 AM

    Confirmed Rafa Bingo Bango
    Don’t have a scooby doo what Rafa will do so just gone with what I would do in this match. Probably not the wisest way to attempt to get the 5 points

    Gemez Mbemba Hanley Lazaar
    Heyden Colback
    Yedlin Diame Atsu

  • 24 jimmysmith // Sep 20, 2016 at 11:32 AM

  • 25 JP...from The Rock // Sep 20, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    HBA is having problems at PSG it seems;

    I’d still have him back to have as a super sub and instill flair and magic to a team looking for an extra spark to win or seal a match. To me he is still the most talented player I have ever had the joy to witness playing in the Black and White shirt of Newcastle United. Such a pity he doesn’t work hard enough.

    I would have him as a luxury player and put him on to cause chaos against lesser opposition. He would tear a new one to many defenses in this league.

  • 26 one fine day // Sep 20, 2016 at 12:12 PM

    Rafa bingo line up
    Yedlin mbemba Lascalles lazarr
    Atsu Hayden shelvey Richie

  • 27 Jib // Sep 20, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    To those putting Gamez in their bingo selection – Rafa said at his presser yesterday “he has fitness issues”
    Soz chaps

  • 28 Mag52 // Sep 20, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    In years to come HBA will look back on a career that, with his talent, could have gone stellar, but which never really took off due to his lack of application.
    He only needs to study the work ethic of olympic athletes to know what it is possible to achieve.

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