Soccernet’s Norman Hubbard comments on Manchester United’s “overpopulated” squad size this season, and ends it with listing out the four unique teams that Sir Alex Ferguson can field.
The First XI: Van der Sar; Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Scholes, Hargreaves, Giggs; Tevez, Rooney.
The Second XI: Foster; O’Shea, Brown, Pique, Heinze; Anderson, Fletcher, Carrick, Nani; Solskjaer, Saha
The Third XI: Kuszczak; Bardsley, Evans, Silvestre, Eckersley; Park, Eagles, Lee, Martin; Smith, Rossi.
The Fourth XI: Heaton; Simpson, Cathcart, Shawcross, Lea; Gibson, Gray, Jones, Barnes; Campbell, Fangzhou.
Though I’m a United fan, this is nothing to feel elated about. Yes, we’ve got some of the best players in our team, especially a lot of talented youngsters; but squad size isn’t an indicator of success. For starters, United won the title last year with what many believed was an “underpopulated” squad. Of course, a lean squad came back to haunt them towards the end of the season, but they did win the Premiership anyway. The lesson here is form and fitness of the team’s core is more crucial than the size of the squad.
Comments about squad size bring to mind something that Jose Mourinho said during the early part of the previous season. He said something like: “Look at Lassana Diarra. The chap hardly gets a game. The FA should allow Chelsea to field another team, say in the Coca Cola Championship, to keep our players more competitive…” Such arrogance and short-sightedness got its comeuppance when Chelsea struggled with injuries to key players and could only win the least two significant competitions they were in.
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