Rafa picks a different side for almost every single game Newcastle play and it’s becasue of his famous rotation system that he used at Liverpool when he was so successful there.
One of the things fans don’t know and which Rafa holds as a high priority in selcting players for a game is how they have been performing in training and what their mental attitude has been before the game.
Rafa Benitez during a training session
Rafa has also talked before about the mental attitude of players and as we have found out Rafa demands they put in 100% at every single training session – nothing less.
In fact some of our players have said the training sessions can be more intense than the actual games.
That’s good training for when the matches get intense as happened at Rotherham last time out, when the Millers pressured Newcastle in the first 20 minutes and then in the final 10 minutes or so of that game.
This is what Rafa has said today about selecting the team:
“People will see ‘MattRitchie isn’t playing!’ But I knew Christian Atsu was playing well – then he does well and I look like a genius!”
“But if he doesn’t, it’s ‘Oh no’.”
“But people need to be reassured that we have a lot of information, we see them in training.”
“For example, DeAndre Yedlin had problems in his ankles after tackles in the last two games.”
“We have Vurnon Anita, who is playing well and training well so why not play him and give Yedlin a rest?”
It was a surprise when DeAndre didn’t play against Rotherham, after filling in so well for Vurnon Anita when he was out suspended for three games.
What we have now are two first class right-backs that Rafa can choose between and of course Vurnon came in and did a good job at the New York Stadium and he also seems to be helping Yedlin develop his game.
Vurnon is a real team player – wonder if he will get a contract extension when his five year contract runs out next June?
What do you think?