Alan Biggs: Heads spinning over rotation, rotation, rotation at Sheffield Wednesday but hard to argue against Carlos Carvalhal

Owls' Carlos Carvalhal....Pic Steve Ellis
Owls' Carlos Carvalhal....Pic Steve Ellis

Squad rotation: is it about maximising results? Or keeping people on their toes? Or simply keeping everyone happy? Probably a mix of all three, but mainly the first.

And considering that results are the most important consideration, can the other two sometimes get in the way?

by Pete McKee

by Pete McKee

Some would argue that is the danger for Sheffield Wednesday under Carlos Carvalhal’s policy, which is in common with many other managers these days and not just at elite level either.

They might also ask: does he know his best team? And if he does, shouldn’t he go with it more often than not?

Carvalhal sees it differently.

He doesn’t want one best team but several, to suit the opposition on the day while factoring in forthcoming games.

On his results, last season and this, I think you have to trust him, even if most of me is emotionally attached to the past and sticking with your best eleven.

The problem is that there is no real measure of either approach.

When the Liverpool sides of Shankly and Paisley conquered all and when Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest stormed Europe you could practically name their teams for the entire season. Players soldiered through 40, 50 and 60 games – just as they did for Sheffield Wednesday in the glorious era of the early 1990s.

You instinctively felt that the strength of those sides lay in their constancy and consistency.

Add camaraderie and continuity to that alliterative mix. But everyone else of that era aimed to do the same.

Weary warriors battled through a campaign and it was the extra quality that counted. We simply don’t know if the great sides would have been weakened by the odd change – or possibly strengthened even further.

Today it’s not even a debate for the majority of those who control the biggest and most expensive squads, certainly those in the top two tiers.

With foreign coaches in abundance, the trend is to tinker.

While any self-respecting player will still want to play in every match, they have little choice in the matter. Only goalkeepers, certain defenders and the odd midfielder have any real permanency, form permitting.

What then of Carvalhal’s Wednesday? Not every former player would support the policy but John Pearson is one who does, saying: “People might be thinking a player is on such and such money and he should be able to play football every day. Well, they actually could play football every day.

But on the tenth day the standard would be humanly impossible to be the standard of the first day.”

Could it be that the marathon men of the past prevailed because they were up against players as fatigued as they were? Mind you, winning conquers tiredness. The Owls won with an altered side at Blackburn and then made five changes, two enforced, for Brighton, losing 2-1 at home without too much complaint.

But Pearson adds: “We’ve got an abundance of talent and when we have three games in a week you can understand Carlos rotating.

“I think over the course of the season Carlos is picking what he thinks is the right team on the day while looking to the next game and getting the best out of the squad.

It’s not just a case of picking eleven and hoping.

“He’s keeping everybody happy as far as you can do. It’s the new way and I think it’s good to see.”

One change that definitely won’t be made is in the head coach’s thinking.

I feel most Wednesdayites will feel he’s earned their faith on that.