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Zidane's rotations are a compliment to the players

Real Madrid's recent team selections reflect Zidane's confidence in the players

Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images,

It was a few days before the Dortmund match that Zinedine Zidane gave his usual media conference and expressed his thoughts about the team as he sees it. His words can be taken as a huge compliment by each and every player involved in the present Real Madrid squad.

Highlighting that he is extremely happy with the side at the moment, Zidane emphasised how on several occasions he was pleased with the players who could be drafted in to cover for injuries or suspensions.

Despite currently having Marcelo, Jesús Vallejo, Mateo Kovačić, Karim Benzema and Theo Hernández all unavailable at the moment through injury, Zidane has still been able to field what he considers to be a strong line-up in their absence.

Even for the right-sided defensive position occupied by Dani Carvajal, Zidane reiterated that he still has Achraf and Nacho to call upon if needed. Some of the younger players in the current squad will be appreciative of Zidane acknowledging their part in the season so far.

It makes a refreshing change from the numerous interviews we hear from coaches who blame everything but the weather on the injuries.

Even the absence of Cristiano has been covered. Although Zidane is delighted to have him back in the team once again for obvious reasons, the quality of players Real Madrid have in depth makes interchangeability easier on the occasions where rotations are called for through necessity.

Zidane talks about having a squad of 24 players in such a matter of fact way that it's become the normal. Whenever he's forced to make changes either through injuries or suspensions he does so without complaining that the team has been weakened as a result.

This isn't surprising though. You can't advocate having a rotational policy and then complain that the players you bring in aren't a patch on the ones left out.

Like Zidane always stresses, Real Madrid are more than a team of eleven players and those who aren't playing are every bit as important to the squad as those who are.

Player availability can change at the drop of a hat, particularly when injuries arise unexpectedly or with the international breaks providing an added burden.

That's where the rotational policy works. Being able to slot people into positions without changing the whole style of play is a dream to most coaches or managers. Yet this is something that has become normal at the Bernabéu; a now familiar feature of Zidane's approach.

It's taken some time but he seems to have managed to get the playing side running as he wants it. Admittedly there have been times this season when the cover has been a bit thin; thinking mainly about not too long ago when Sergio Ramos was suspended and Rafaël Varane was injured.

With both central defenders now fully fit and available, Madrid have proved yet again with the victory in Dortmund that they are able to cover Marcelo's absence; and that the team can adapt to an attacking formation without Karim Benzema.

After the win in Dortmund, he'll need to weigh up his options for the weekend's game against Espanyol and assess the usual injury situation in good time.

There might be a sweat or two over the next couple of days until we find out whether Gareth Bale really has picked up another injury or if the problem leading to his substitution in Germany was purely related to cramp.

Much of the criticism faced by Zidane's predecessors was over player rotations. Carlo Ancelloti rarely rotated the team; preferring to have a recognised starting eleven. Rafa Benítez rotated the team more; but mainly when required, preferring not to change players just for change’s sake.

Zidane bases his whole philosophy on rotating. He prefers an approach specific to each game and chooses the players he thinks are best suited to the occasion. It doesn't always work for other managers; but it works for him.

It's a compliment to the whole squad that Zidane's team selections reflect the confidence he has in the players.

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