The Championship is one of the toughest leagues in the world, which is why Rafa Benitez set out in the summer to build up the Newcastle squad in terms of both quality but also quantity.
And he is rotating his players so that as the season goes on the players will remain relatively fresh and hopefully will not pick up too many injuries due to playing too much, which has happened at Newcastle far too much in the past.
Rafa Benitez in training
You only have to look at Newcastle’s injury record over the last decade or so when we nearly always had more injuries than other clubs to see there was something wrong somewhere.
Once Rafa decides what his game plan is for a particular game he then picks the team accordingly, bearing in mind which players played in the previous game.
And Rafa has pointed out that we do have strength in depth, so the team he puts out each week should be of a similar quality.
This is what Rafa has said today:
“To be fair, we more or less know who are the best players, depending on the game.”
“But the good thing that we have is that we do not just have 11. We have some players that are at a similar level.”
“The fans might sometimes say, ‘Why is he not playing this one’, but now we have a group of players where we have enough good players that you can pick one player ahead of another one – and you will not see the difference.”
“For me, that is quite a positive thing, though I can see that the team has to improve.”
“A lot of things are going well, but there are also a lot of things that can still be a lot better.”
If managers do play the same team game in and game out the players tend to tire towards the end of the season and tend to pick up injuries.
Martin O’Neil is a manager who played his strongest side when he could and Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner is doing the same thing this season.
Once some of Wagner’s starters get injured or suspended that will test the strength in depth of The Terriers side, which may be one reason they are not top candidates with the bookies for automatic promotion.
What do you think?