Difference: How Rafa Picks A Team And How England Do It

At Newcastle in the past when we brought in some highly paid player they were almost guaranteed a starting position in the team.

So if there was ever a choice between say an up-and-coming younger and a star player we paid big bucks for and we were paying ridiculous wages to – the youngster didn’t have a chance.

rafa benitez training

Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager

And even if the star continued to play poorly they still started every game – just think Sissoko and Wijnaldum in away games last season.

Well that is until Rafa came in and dropped Wijnaldum and somehow magically got Moussa Sissoko to start playing well after he had named him as his captain.

Rafa seems to pick a player more on how the player looks in training and what their attitude is – and it seems to work well – although his team choices are extremely difficult to guess before the games – almost impossible in fact.


Newcastle’s old way of picking the team is also how England have picked their teams and as former player Kieron Dyer has said yesterday the team is picked more on reputation than on how well they actually play for England.

This is what Kieron said on the Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday show:

“I think the problem with England, even when I was playing and still today, is it’s picked on reputation and not on form and it’s got to be a brave manager who breaks that mold.” 

“Kevin Keegan was one of those managers who were a bit off the cuff. If you trained well, he played you.

“I turned up for the England v Luxembourg game and I wasn’t in his plans but I was in the squad, but because I had a good week in training he played me from the start.”

So there’s a case where Kevin picked a player (Kieron) based on how he looked in training – just like Rafa does.

Kieron is not the first one to mention that players are selected for England based on their name – and that’s essentially how Roy Hodgson picked the England squad for last summer’s Euro 2016 in France.

I’ll say no more.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.