Gerard Houllier warns Aston Villa's stars to expect spells on the sidelines
The Frenchman, who has already used 22 players in his three games in charge (it took O'Neill an entire season to field as many), has suggested that tactical flexibility and managing the confidence of the players makes squad rotation a must. Although commonplace at most other top Premier League clubs, the idea of resting players is rather a novelty at Villa. Related ArticlesYoung overcomes hatchet menHoullier wants Villa fit to pass testAlbrighton upbeatHoullier has faith in Reo-CokerDunne happy with HoullierTottenham 2 Aston Villa 1O'Neill used to promise rotation at the start of each season, but casting an eye over his team sheet on a Saturday afternoon was the opposite of opening a box of chocolates: you always knew exactly what you were going to get. He used the fewest number of players of the top eight teams, with Stiliyan Petrov, Ashley Young and James Milner each making over 30 league starts a season (of the other Big Four midfielders, only Frank Lampard started as many). His selection policy infuriated the likes of Luke Young and Steve Sidwell, who were left out of the team without ever being given an explanation. Even James Milner, who later became the apple of O'Neill's eye, found it hard to break into the team when he arrived from Newcastle in 2008. At the time he called his manager's ideas on selection 'frustrating'. Houllier, however, has been impressed by the attitude of his peripheral players during his month in charge, and said that he would have no problems with resting first teamers. 'Sometimes the tactical approach to a specific game is different so you need different players,' he said. 'It is not my view to use the same 11 all the time because some players can get tired and you don't want to ruin their confidence. Sometimes you have to rest them because quite a number of players here are developing their game. 'We have a squad of 20 to 25 players so not everyone is involved every week. There are injuries, suspensions, lack of form. "But we need everybody and everyone contributes to the final success. Some may not be called up for this game or that game but could appear in two weeks' time and be the hero.'
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