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Newcastle United must box clever in Europe

By Lee Ryder on Sep 19, 12 04:11 PM


Perhaps there should be a new saying in football, something along the lines of: "You can't play in them all."

Back in the day when British sides were in Europe there was no such thing as resting players or rotating squads.

Indeed, the successful teams like Liverpool, who won European Cups galore, and Manchester United, Everton and Arsenal, who all have Cup Winners Cups to their name tried to play their full strength teams in every competition.

This was underlined further when the old thee foreigner rule meant teams looked at the restrictions as a negative and not a chance to rest bodies between league games.

How times change eh?

When Newcastle United jetted out of Tyneside today the likes of Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Jonas Gutierrez were all left behind to rest up for the game with Norwich City.

Alan Pardew may have came under fire from Demba Ba's representatives for leaving him out of the starting line-up.

But what other choice does he have?

The difference between the sides of old playing their full strength sides in Europe and the modern game is vast.

These days players are built like athletes and live their life in the same way as somebody preparing for the Olympics.

In previous eras, players would munch on steak before the game and wouldn't even consider having a few pints afterwards - in fact most teams had slabs of lager waiting for them in the dressing room when they came off the field.

Nowadays they have ice baths and protein shakes instead.

Many will see the Europa League as a chance to win something for Newcastle this season.

But they must approach it sensibly.

With 23 games between the Maritimo game and New Years Day, they have little other choice.

Already injuries to Fabricio Coloccini, Tim Krul and Danny Simpson have underlined that the current squad is only a few knocks away from trouble.

That's why Pardew's judgement on squad selection for different competitions needs to be respected.

And he has already admitted that: "Nobody can play in every game."

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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