Since Manchester United has already clinched the league title, there has been considerable hue and cry from Newcastle United and Middlesborough, those teams who are in 18th and 19th place in the Premiership, respectively, about the team Man Utd will field against Hull, which is in 17th place. All of that raises a question: how does a manager pick a squad for the last day?
I should note, first, the the Premiership has a rule that says you have to field your best team at all times. The rule is somewhat vague though it takes into account injuries, bad form, etc. which means that it is, in reality, toothless. A manager could, if he so desired, create some phantom injury and leave his stars out. But that would be pointless because the rule is never enforced.
That did not stop Newcastle and Middlesborough bleating about it for the past week, though. Oh, no: they request, nay, demand, that Sir Alex Ferguson field his best XI, including Rooney, CRonaldo, etc., despite the fact that 3 days later, Man Utd will be in Rome playing Barcelona in the championship game of a little tournament called the UEFA Champion's League. You know what? Sir Alex doesn't owe Newcastle or Middlesborough (the latter of which loser to a United side featuring Ben Foster and Federico Macheda less than a month ago) anything.
I have no doubt that Sir Alex will go for the win against Hull; he doesn't really know any other way. I also have no doubt that the side he fields will be good enough to beat at least half of the Premiership. Neither Rooney nor Giggs nor Vidic nor van der Sar will even be selected, much less make the trip to Hull but that doesn't matter. The United squad is deep enough to cover for them.
And that, friends, is the real reason why the Premiership rule is toothless: every team uses a large-ish rotating group of players now. United's depth is to be celebrated, not denigrated. Bsides, if Middleborough and Newcastle hadn't sucked for 6 months, they wouldn't be in this position.
So how do you pick a last day team? You do what's right for your team, and your team alone.