Rafa Benitez in nothing if not honest and he has today said that he has a squad of 27 players and even though he will rotate players – he admits that a number of his squad will not be happy campers – for one reason or another.
When Newcastle lose or draw that’s when there seems to be criticism of his rotation policy, but we didn’t hear any adverse criticism when we were winning six games in a row.
But he has had criticism at Liverpool when he very rarely fielded the same team two games in a row.
Rafa Benitez with his players in training
But even when he rotates players some of the players are not going to play many games and some of that set of players will not be happy and will even push to leave the club.
So those comments from Rafa are surprising and also honest.
This is what Rafa has said when asked if all 27 players will be part of his rotation policy this season:
“We have 27 players. It is impossible to have 27 players who are happy if they do not play,”
“So now at this stage of the season we are doing well and everything is fine, but if you carry on and some players don’t play too much, they will not be happy.”
“But I do not want players who are happy not to be playing.”
“What I want is players who are competing with a positive competition on the pitch in every game and every training session to give me a decision to make.”
“After it depends how mature they are and what the ambitions of the player are.”
“Some will understand that another player is better than them and understand why they are not playing instead.”
“Some will think they are young and have time to develop and will be patient.” “But some will say they want to play and say they cannot stay here.”
“It is very difficult to keep everyone happy if you are not winning.”
“If you are winning, even if you win this competition or that, it is not true that the players are as happy as if they were playing.”
“They are happy because they are winning but they want to play.”
There are 27 players in Rafa’s first team squad if you include young goalkeeper Freddie Woodman and wantaway midfielder Cheick Tiote.
And the reason he rotates players is for a number of reasons.
He wants to keep his players fresh during a long hard tough season and they should pick up less injuries because they are not overplayed as they have been over the last eight seasons at Newcastle when our squad was simply too small.
But big successful clubs have big squads and therefore if Rafa is to bring some success to Newcastle there will be players who are not happy.
So at least in that sense Rafa’s comments are not surprising.
What do you think?