These are all solid points.
On the playing time issue, do you think players if they are only playing in the EL see that as equal time to playing in the PL? I take your point in general more games, particularly for up and coming players is beneficial. I suppose overall Iím saying I want to make sure we can walk before we try to run. Get a starting XI right, which I think weíre still a a few players away from, get a solid bench that gives you options. We should have enough domestic games to keep 18-20 players happy.
As to why Leicester or us, probably only money right now. I doubt in general think the EL is anything like the pull the CL is though, itís a nicety.
Ideally I don't think it would be a case of some only playing league, some only playing Europe. Even keeping a settled side, there would be a natural level of rotation from injuries/fatigue.
I suspect I think we're a little closer to a decent starting 11 than you do though. Taking yesterday's team as a basis, I reckon we could make a decent fist of things if we just brought in a left back we could rely on and a natural midfielder to replace Rooney. There will still be plenty of room for improvement at centre half/up front, but we've found a system that works alright. The quality of our players will see us through in most of our home league matches (as we've seen this and last year).
Playing in the Europa does present disadvantages obviously, I wouldn't deny that. I think our biggest issues have stemmed not from the number of games and limited preparation for league matches, but from missing our 3 best players from last season (replacing just one of them) and an unsettled team.
I guess it would also help if people were able to estimate the costs of being in the Europa League. I don't think it costs us much at all as far as domestic cups go for example. If we're the 7th best team in the country, with quite a gap to the top 6, it's going to take a lot of luck to win something. In the league? Well, with no Europe, no cups and one of the best strikers in the world last season we won 61 points. We're on course for around 48 this season and picked up that under Martinez. If we're being really generous then, being in Europe might cost us 10-15 points at the absolute maximum. We are nowhere near close enough to the teams above us to be able to take advantage of that gap just yet.
I struggle to see Europa League as anything other than a good thing at this stage. It brings additional exposure and awareness, which translates into more commercial money. It's now beginning to bring in reasonable amounts of money in prize/broadcasting revenue. It provides us with additional opportunities to play younger players. It gives us an additional shot at reaching the CL, however far fetched that is. And if we ever were to reach the CL, it would benefit us to already having a squad/manager used to playing that regularly.
I'd love for us to get back in it.