The Newcastle United Blog

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

The Newcastle United Blog header image 2
Howay The Lads!!

Manager Gives Hints On How He Picks The Team

4:36 pm, Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 90 Comments

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?

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · DeAndre Yedlin · Management · Newcastle News · Vurnon Anita

90 responses so far ↓

  • 1 sing in the corner // Oct 11, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    Argh, I was hoping Yedlin would get the nod this weekend, love watching him tear it up down the flank.
    Big hint that Anita will play there Raphael!

  • 2 barkel // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:04 PM

    Yedlin has an international game at 1am (GMT) Wednesday morning in Washington, considering rest and jet lag it might be a bit much to have him play 90mins on Saturday. I know he’s a professional but it makes more sense to have Anita start there this weekend

  • 3 JP...from The Rock // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:07 PM

    Anita has been a changed man since Rafa came in and played him at RB- his best position by far. Great competition with Yedlin for that spot. If Anita continues in this form he deserves a contract extension.

  • 4 Uncertain Toon // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:17 PM

    Experiencing some serious deja vu with some of these threads!
    Is Ed going round the buoy with some of these ditties?

  • 5 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:17 PM

    He will get an extension but he shouldn’t imo good enough now for us but moving forward we should be looking at better

  • 6 Uncertain Toon // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:21 PM

    I see Rooney is on bench tonight.
    I really like that Eric Dier who I think they said would start instead. Shame the club couldn’t have got him, wouldn’t pay the asking price.
    What is he worth now 30 million?
    That Deli Alli is another one, opportunities missed by the old regime!

  • 7 hibbit // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:26 PM

    Uncertain Toon
    Deli Alli didnt want to come north only wanted london

  • 8 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:29 PM

    Pay him enough and he’d of moved anywhere

  • 9 Uncertain Toon // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:32 PM

    hibbit – Wasn’t aware of that, cheers pal.
    Should have got Rob elliott to have a word with him!

  • 10 barkel // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:34 PM

    Who’s to say Alli would have developed as well as he has done if he came to us, I know that’s an argument that works both ways but we haven’t exactly been very successful developing younger players

  • 11 hibbit // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:35 PM


    spurs did that + LONDON

    whos says Rafa’s not looking at better
    we still need squad player /cover and Anita seems happy to do that well worth a contract

  • 12 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:40 PM

    Spurs did that because we were haggling

    On Anita why give him a contract to be 3rd choice RB? He cant cover else where imo, on top of that he will need to be registered when we are in the PL taking a spot which we will be struggling with as is

  • 13 hibbit // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:49 PM


    he wanted to stay in the south spurs were always going to win that race

  • 14 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    Clearly what uve heard isnt what Ive heard mate

  • 15 sing in the corner // Oct 11, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Aye good point.
    Definitely Anita for the Brentford game then. Not upset…Big Vurn will take no prisoners, I’m sure 🙂

  • 16 hibbit // Oct 11, 2016 at 6:00 PM


    as you say just what i heard
    no problem

  • 17 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    Oh aye no issue mate haha Ive heard the Alli only wanted London stuff before but Ive also heard from the club end which disagrees

    On the Anita contract thing do u really think he warrants a registration point for a 3rd choice RB (possibly 4th with Sterry coming along), 4th choice LB and never choice CM I just dont see the point

  • 18 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 6:11 PM

    And Gamez who I forgot about who if he ever gets fit is primarily a RB isnt he?

  • 19 hibbit // Oct 11, 2016 at 6:26 PM


    at the moment i do thats not to say i wont change my mind if Rafa brings in a bit of quality in
    i happen to think this season he’s been our best RB
    Gamez wont be here next season
    Sterry still needs time although i think he is a very good player who could develop into a great player with Rafa and his coaches

  • 20 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 6:33 PM

    U mustnt of seen Yedlin play then I take it?Also why wont Gamez be here next season?
    On Sterry hes nearly 21 come next season hes going to need to be around the first team imo or he’ll just fade away and move on hes got Yedlin ahead of him and Gamez when hes fit (I dont see him leaving, also dont think he should), if u add Anita on to that then Sterry’s not going to have a future here imo

  • 21 Essex Geordie Bill // Oct 11, 2016 at 7:10 PM

    Good evening all, haven’t even been at the bus stop today, too busy.

    I was going to pick Anita for the Rotherham game as I think he’s a Rafa favourite, bur being in the Suffolk outback it would have taken all day with the slow telephone connections.

    As for his versatility I don’t see why he couldn’t play midfield I think he’d step up under Rafa same as he has at RB.

  • 22 Essex Geordie Bill // Oct 11, 2016 at 7:13 PM

    If Yedlin is having injury problems why is he even playing for the USA Wednesday, a bit irresponsible of Klinnsman!

  • 23 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 7:13 PM

    Oh great England on tv now!!

  • 24 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    He can’t play CM because he’s crap there and we have Shelvey, Hayden, Colback, Diame and Tiote ahead of him it’s also where imo we will be looking to buy in the next few windows

  • 25 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 7:34 PM

    Evening bill. Are you watching the game tonight? I’ll watch any game myself, although watching this lot is getting harder. 🙂 Didn’t know Yedders was carrying a knock myself mate, but if Klinsmann knew he shouldn’t have selected him.

  • 26 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 7:47 PM

    I see Rafa’s getting the idea of some of our fans! 🙂 His reference to how people react ie not selecting Ritchie is funnily accurate. 🙂 What he is also right about is that he sees the players during the week and he knows who’s been playing well in training. As long as we keep winning Rafa, you keep to your tried and trusted ways.

  • 27 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 7:55 PM

    What a bloody shambles at the back.

  • 28 welshgeordie9 // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:06 PM

    I wonder if Slovenia win tonight.

  • 29 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:10 PM

    Now now welshie, I was backing your boys the other night. 🙂 How’s your dad mate? On the mend I hope? Oh dear, Scotland losing again. 🙂 Hope N Ireland don’t get humiliated tonight – not off to the brightest start. 🙁

  • 30 JAMSHA // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:17 PM

    Cant Wait For Our Next Game

  • 31 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:27 PM

    Only four days to go jamsha and it’s back to proper football. Just hoping that everybody who’s been away comes back in one piece mate, fingers crossed.

  • 32 Offkey // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    Gary Neville was on talksportrhe other day talking about how Roy and the rest of them didn’t care if players were out of form/fitness as they still picked them as they had “invested in them” early on. He was telling the guy that wrote Rafa s book

  • 33 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:39 PM

    Offkey, that’s why England have struggled over the years imo. Certain players are deemed ‘undropable’ – as Rooney has been until tonight. Too many favourites guaranteed their place on past glories. Not convinced Southgare is the answer either, he’s another who’s come through the system of failure – the old boys brigade. I’d wait for Wenger myself, given the choice.

  • 34 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:40 PM

    Southgate, you fool! 🙂

  • 35 Essex Geordie Bill // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:43 PM

    Bobby Yes I’ve been watching the game, apart from Diers near calamitous back pass England have been pretty much on top, just not quite getting their final passes in.

    The only reason I said Yedlin was injured was that Rafa had mentioned something about problems with his ankles, so if he is carrying something then he shouldn’t be involved in full on games.

    WWSBRD, he was also supposed to be crap at RB, don’t suppose there’s many that think that now. I wouldn’t consign Anita to the scrap heap yet.

  • 36 Essex Geordie Bill // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    Oh and personally, I’d pick Anita ahead of Tiote and Diame on present form in any position.

  • 37 Essex Geordie Bill // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    Back to the England Game, I’ve got it on live pause at the moment, what a great little idea.

  • 38 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    Mmm, was a poor backpass like. Not sure either team is on top, not too many chances to compare. Ooh, lovely move from Slovenia. Then a great save to boot. Wow, another great save. Scary moments.

  • 39 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:50 PM

    Well not the greatest of starts from England in this 2nd half. Top drawer save from Hart though

  • 40 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:54 PM

    Not for my memory mate Anita’s best position has always been said to be RB he’s just pretty much refused to play there

    I’d keep him this season but then let him leave

  • 41 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:54 PM

    Another woeful delivery from Henderson

  • 42 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:56 PM

    Shirebrook mate, you have a great sense of understatement! 🙂 Didn’t look too clever did it? Two cracking saves though, showing us how good he can be.

  • 43 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:56 PM

    And Anita isn’t capable of doing what Tiote and Diame do, he can’t break up play and he can’t carry the ball

  • 44 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:59 PM

    So, apart from the roads, sanitation, education etc – WHAT has Henderson ever done for us? 🙂

  • 45 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 8:59 PM


    Yeah mate that was a class save. To get up to it from where he was positioned was brilliant! He’s still got it lol

  • 46 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    You forgot frustration Bobby

  • 47 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:02 PM

    This is threatening to turn into a canny game. Andros coming on might make it interesting.

  • 48 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:04 PM

    Frustration shirebrook. That sums him up far better than I did mate. 🙂

  • 49 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    Need lascelles in that England back four! He’ll sort these dodgy back passes out

  • 50 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    In fact, that could well be his middle name. Jordan ‘frustration’ Henderson. Nice ring to it mate. 🙂

  • 51 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:07 PM

    And Gayle up top lol

  • 52 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    He’ll be there one day mate, if he keeps improving at his current rate. Another season in the PL and he’ll be getting called up I reckon. Most improved player in our squad imo.

  • 53 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    Could be worse Bobby. He could of been born a Mackem oh wait………………

  • 54 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:10 PM

    Lascelles could well get into an England squad once we are back in the PL outside of Smalling Cahill and Stones there’s not a huge amount of competition for him and he is liked by the England set up

  • 55 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:10 PM

    Now ye just getting silly 🙂 jesus, henderson ffs!

  • 56 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:11 PM

    Shirebrook. 🙂 🙂

  • 57 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:13 PM

    Henderson again with a wild pass lmao

  • 58 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    Shirebrook, there was a flag at the cup game with Shirebrook Mags – a black st georges cross i think. Recognise it?

  • 59 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:15 PM

    At this rate colback might get a call up

  • 60 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:17 PM

    Shirebrook. Step away from the bottle of whatever it is. Androsius has made a difference since coming on.

  • 61 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:17 PM

    Townsend is good, very positive and direct

  • 62 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:17 PM

    Bobby. Iv got an idea who it might be with the flag mate

  • 63 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:19 PM

    It’s clear to see that Townsend has not yet been pardewed. Still has the Rafa effect. But for how long lol

  • 64 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    Aye, thought you might like. Tell them to come again and bring that good luck with them. 🙂

  • 65 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    Has Rooney dyed his hair

  • 66 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:22 PM

    May venture up with them next time Bobby

  • 67 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:23 PM

    Indeed, Townsend should be eternally grateful to Rafa and Newcastle. From rotting away in Spurs’ stiffs to representing his country again.
    Good goalkeeping tonight if nothing else.

  • 68 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:23 PM

    Thank fcuk Daniel Porridge has been taken off. That’s not a typo it’s because he always looks like he’s playing in it!!

  • 69 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:25 PM

    Aye Sturridge has been his selfish best tonight and for a striker hes not keen on getting into the box

  • 70 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:25 PM

    Lingaard has impressed tonight

  • 71 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:26 PM

    Get yer sen up here shirebrook, you know it makes sense. 🙂

  • 72 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:28 PM

    Lingaard has had a good season so far and settled well into the match. We were after him start of last season aswell

  • 73 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:30 PM

    Does indeed Bobby. Got a few mates from my army days up there. It’s my second home lol

  • 74 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:32 PM

    Doesn’t back down from a fight either

  • 75 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:33 PM

    WW. Aye McTufty had him on loan at Derby and wanted to bring him to the toon. Although he wasn’t really that great in his loan spell at Derby

  • 76 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:34 PM

    WWSBRD, would’ve been a great addition to the squad as well. Might’ve got him has Jose not come along as well.

  • 77 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:36 PM

    Aye I wasn’t impressed when we were linked with him tbh but looks like I was wrong haha

    This game isgetting rough

  • 78 JAMSHA // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:36 PM


    I guess Only Murphy Is Injurd xD An With Mitro On Fire Hope He Now Starts Fireing For Us

  • 79 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:38 PM


    He’s come on leaps and bounds since then. But he was shite before lol

  • 80 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:38 PM

    Certainly would of been mate. Shame we didn’t push our interest

  • 81 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:40 PM

    Had for has.

    Well, an away point isn’t a disaster. Another clean sheet and unbeaten still, but if they had better finishers… then again, if we had better finishers… 🙂

  • 82 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:40 PM

    Haha true and he may not of developed as well with us, he still may end up dropping off but Jose seems to like him

    I like Rashford aswell he’s an exciting player

  • 83 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Think Slovenia will feel they should have won that.

  • 84 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:45 PM


    Yeah mate. Rashford looks like he’s played for years. Very mature player for his age and has bags of potential

  • 85 Bobbybee // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:46 PM

    Jamsha, I was very impressed by Mitro the other night. I chose that game to watch and was glad I did. Not just the goals and assist, his overall play was impressive and looked more like the player we thought we were getting. Very mobile, which isn’t something we’ve seen from him, so if this is him getting back to full fitness, then bring it on.

  • 86 Essex Geordie Bill // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:47 PM


    Aye Porridge just about sums him up, does some flashy stuff and then his brain just seems to switch off. I’d hate to be playing with him.

    On chances made, as opposed to given, England were the better team and their goalie probably saved them more than Hart.had to.

    Was there some racial abuse there, Lingard was getting really upset about something?

  • 87 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    How sturridge is in the squad I don’t know.

  • 88 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:51 PM


    Something along those lines must have been said for him to react like that.

  • 89 ShirebrookToon // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:53 PM


    Mitro was outstanding the other night. He looks like he’s shed a few kilos aswell as like you said he’s more mobile

  • 90 WWSBRD // Oct 11, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    Aye not sure why Rashford didnt start tbh would of been the bigger story than the Rooney dropping thing

    Aye the commentators suggested something may of been said but no one else reacted that much so am not sure it was racial. Looked like Rashford was at the heart of it then Lingaard rushed in to help him and got a strong hand off then he lost it but I could be wrong hard to tell

previous post: Goalkeeper’s Great Form Down To This Simple Fact

next post: Great News As Top Star Returns To Training

You must log in to post a comment.