Liverpool boss Benitez finds an unlikely ally in United striker Rooney

Last updated at 14:41 06 March 2008

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has come out in support of the rotation of players, the same system Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has been criticised for using.

The Liverpool boss has been pilloried for most of the season for his rotation policy, but now former Everton striker Rooney has admitted that United boss Sir Alex Ferguson does exactly the same and it works.

Benitez will be forgiven a wry smile at that, because he has long insisted in the face of fierce opposition that all top clubs rotate their players.

Benitez said on the subject: "When I change players it is rotation, when other managers do it, they call it resting people."

And now Rooney has come out in support of rotation, as it is revealed that

Fergie has not named the same side for successive matches since August.

Despite an injury to Ryan Giggs, Ferguson was able to name Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves and Carlos Tevez among the substitutes in midweek in the 2-1 aggregate victory over Lyon in the Champions League, with Cristiano Ronaldo's 30th goal of the season winning the second leg 1-0.

Rooney said in an interview on "Last season we had a lot of injuries and we had a few players who played a lot of games and they were tired.

"Now we have a big squad so hopefully the rotation policy will help us. I

think we are a lot fresher.

"A lot of players have not played so many games this season. We brought

players in, the squad is bigger and we have not really got any serious injuries

at the moment."

After brushing aside Roma 7-1 in the Champions League last eight at Old

Trafford last year, United ran out of steam against AC Milan in the semi-finals,

a combination of fatigue and injuries taking their toll.

It is a situation Ferguson is clearly determined to avoid in a bid to keep his

squad fresh.

While the defence is largely settled he rotates his midfield and attack, with

summer arrivals Nani, Anderson and Tevez giving him plenty of options.

Ronaldo, now the Champions League's joint leading scorer with six goals,

believes the side is "more mature" than last year and Ferguson's ability to

keep a harmonious squad while ringing the changes backs that up.

For the record, Benitez is approaching 300 changes to his side, match by match,

from the first day of the season.

He is now on 298 and will almost certainly top that on Saturday against


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