I wrote an article a few weeks back that as we were on the verge of completing the signing of Matt O’Riley, I believed that Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou would be looking to consistently use the same squad rotation policy used by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. You can read that here: Is Ange Postecoglou looking to replicate Pep Guardiola and Man City? – Champions 67
I think most people understood the concept, there was of course a minority that only read the headline and jumped to conclusions that I was saying we are as good as Man City, which I clearly explain in the article that is absolutely not the point I was making, but simply Ange would look to use the same squad rotation principles that has brought so much success to Pep and Man City.
And in his sit down with Celtic TV, Ange confirmed how important it will be to use this rotation policy, especially still being in three different competitions.
He pointed out the performance of Tom Rogic at the weekend which we all know of course was exceptional, but as Ange quite rightly said, if he has to play the next 8 games in a row, he isn’t going to be able to perform like that. And he is absolutely spot on.
I see it quite often, even at the weekend there with the rotations he made from the derby to the Motherwell game, leaving out Juranovic, Jota and O’Riley, who were all excellent against Sevco and people were moaning, understandably to some degree, but it worked a treat. Rogic started and was MOTM with two goals, Maeda came in for Jota and scored our fourth, and Ralston didn’t put a foot wrong either.
Us as a support need to understand that we have a very talented squad now. Yes, on a personal level you might favour one player over another, but we need to understand this team is going to be rotated, a lot, most likely game by game, because that is how Ange sees us progressing and continuing to be successful in all competitions.
We need to get rid of this mentality of ‘Jota needs to play every game as every game in the league is so import’, or saying the same about Kyogo or McGregor. Because as Ange said, if they play every game, they aren’t going to be able to be the best players, because they will end up getting fatigued or injured. Especially with the style we play, we’ve seen what happened when our squad was smaller and Ange had to use the same players all the time, they all got injured. So we must stop this demand that certain players must be picked every game to start, it just isn’t realistic and it isn’t what’s best for this team.
We have also got a squad of players in now, especially attacking wise, that we can rotate and there isn’t really much of a difference, if any, in the quality. If Rogic starts we have a top class midfielder playing and if O’Riley starts instead we have another top class midfielder playing. Like I said earlier, people are going to have their favourites, I get that, but looking at it objectively, the quality doesn’t really change from player to player.
Another argument I saw was O’Riley should have started against Motherwell because he’s been playing great as of late and should be rewarded by keeping his place in the team. And of course Ange paid no attention to that and brough in Rogic and the rest is history.
These players will know Ange is looking to rotate. They will understand that having some time on the bench isn’t a reflection of their performance, they will me made well aware that this is for the betterment of the team, and for the individual player too, in the long run.
It is a very exciting time to be a Celtic supporter. Trust in the manager, He knows what he’s doing.