There are so many games to be played and so many competitions to try and win, that you need to have a squad of players. United have got that at the moment. Look at Michael Carrick, his form has been outstanding. But he’s still not a regular. When someone is in that form, you’d think they would be in the team every week. But it shows you the quality of players United have. It sets a very high standard for everybody. If you’re playing you only need take one look at the bench and think to yourself, ‘My God, I’ve got to play well to stay in this team’.
Owen Hargreaves is an aggressive ball winner that you want in your team. Michael Carrick’s passing is incredible, Darren Fletcher brings something different from Anderson, who can run from one end of the pitch to the other and then fire a shot in.
The manager’s job must be awful at the moment. I would find it almost impossible to turn round to Michael Carrick and say, ‘you’re not playing this week’, or to tell Darren Fletcher he’s not in the side after the way he has played recently. How do you say to Anderson after getting a standing ovation against Arsenal, ‘you’re on the bench. It’s not easy for the manager. Rather him than me.
Getting players to understand it is key to it. And the fact that they never complain about it, shows the confidence and respect they have for the manager. Nobody is complaining in the press. Look at Liverpool, everyone goes on about the rotation. But I don’t think Rafael Benitez has got a strong enough squad to rotate. United have, and that’s why there are no complaints from United fans. No player should look at it as being dropped. It’s for the benefit of the team in the long run.
When you play against teams that are used to playing against you, it can become a bit of a puzzle for them. They don’t know who they are going to be facing. Different players bring different qualities to the team. Until I actually see the team-sheet, there’s not a chance I could tell what the team is going to be. That has to have an affect on opposition managers and players. It keeps players on their toes.