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AFC Bournemouth: Squad rotation is vital says Richard Hughes
EXPERIENCED campaigner Richard Hughes says squad rotation will be vital to Cherries in the Championship – even if he knows he could be a regular casualty.
Hughes, whose only start so far this season came in the League Cup victory over Portsmouth, was on the bench for Cherries’ trip to Watford and in the stands for home wins against Charlton and Wigan.
But despite missing out at Dean Court against the Addicks and the Latics, Hughes fully supports and respects manager Eddie Howe’s selection decisions.
The 34-year-old midfielder experienced the merits and benefits of squad rotation during nine years in the Premier League and Championship with Portsmouth.
Hughes, who could be in contention for a recall when Cherries visit Huddersfield tomorrow, told the Daily Echo: “Every player will look at it differently. Come Saturday or Tuesday, everyone wants to be involved in a game they will have been working hard preparing for. In that respect, I am no different. You want to be out there and you want to play your part.
“But you have to understand that you can play your part, not only by being on the pitch. There is more to being part of a football squad than the 90 minutes in a game.
“You have to be unselfish and realise your team-mates deserve game time, especially when the squad is as good as the one we have got this season because it dictates there will be rotation. The manager has got various systems he can play with the personnel at his disposal.
“You have to keep the unity and I think everybody will understand it more as the season progresses. It comes with the experience of being involved in it.
“It helps if you win games because it allows the manager to rotate even on the back of a good result. As a player, if you lose a game and then miss the next one, your mind starts to wander.
“But because the manager set out his stall from the start of the season and we know this is going to be the case for the majority of games, players don’t need to have any reservations or negative thoughts.
“In no small part, it is going to be down to which formation and which personnel the manager sees fit to start certain games.
“From a player perspective, patience and unselfishness are the two key words. We all talk about the excellent spirit in the camp and people say it is a squad game. You have to mean it and you have to back your team-mates, whether you are involved or not. That has been the case so far and I am sure it will be throughout the season.”
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