Midweek Memoirs of Mr Bodell
So, after much thought, I`ve decided to scrap writing about the sacking of Chris Hutchings, and write about 'Rafa Rotation`. It`s something I touched on last week in my '10 game review` but I`m today reading that Crouch will only be a bit-part player at Anfield, officially and I don`t like it. And, with the Champions League tonight, it seems topical.
I think we now have reached the stage in football where most of us have accepted that squad rotation is a massive part of the game and is highly unlikely to go away. Especially when managers like Benitez keep tinkering even after victory.
However, here are some of my thoughts on squad rotation:
§ It gives more players a first-team opportunity. If it wasn`t for squad rotation then players at the big clubs who are merely fringe players, or even young players would not get their chance in meaningful games. Although the Carling Cup is meaningful, there is no experience like being thrown on in the Merseyside derby as Lucas Leto was for Liverpool.
§ If a squad of thirty is sharing say, fifty games as they would at a top Premier league club then there is no real excuse for players to be complaining about tiredness, lack of fitness or fatigue at any point in the season. The core of the squad will play 30 games upwards and the rest will play 20 upwards, which is about twenty players anyway.
§ Options in defeat. If things aren`t going well for your side and defeats are coming thick and fast, with the modern commodity of large squads, managers can quite easy rotate the starting eleven and see if that will ignite and improvement in form.
§ Players like Peter Crouch who plays very occasionally at Anfield, and when they do, more often than not score when they actually are given their chance are inexplicably dropped for the next game. Surely the team is picked on form?
§ With a lack of games, or long periods of inactivity between games. Players loose match sharpness, match fitness and when they do come back into the side, probably the support of their gaffer and fans.
§ With constant changing of the team and system, the balance of the side must frequently be upset. This means that the players coming in to make a new team have to get used to another system another formation and another set of teammates. Doing this every week is surely incredibly impractical.
§ Player`s will not know where they stand. As I mentioned before, a player who performs well one week, is far from guaranteed a place in the starting eleven or even bench next week. This is never good for morale or team spirit.
§ Finally, it prevents partnerships from being built. Centre forwards, central midfielders and centre backs need to be playing with one another week in, week out to form a solid and reliable understanding. However, if they are being alternated every other week this is never going to happen and what should be a strong spine to the side will be weak.
Finally, finally [!] for internationals like Ryan Babel, Dirk Kuyt, Peter Crouch and Fernando Torres, it must be incredibly frustrating to not be playing week in week out when their international futures depend on their club form.
I do appreciate, if you are thinking it, that three of those are strikers, but all three should be in the squad week in week out. Obviously if they are playing badly drop them, but don`t drop them for the sake of it.
All this said, as I add the finishing touches to this article this morning, Watford won anyway, so I can take out my aggression, whilst Liverpool have won eight-nil with Crouch starting and scoring and Babel coming off the bench! Typical eh? Enjoy anyway.
Keep the faith,