Later News Nov 11

Injury fears lead Man City, Liverpool and Man United to call for 5-sub rule, but others disagree

Teams in the English Premier League (EPL) are divided over whether the league should reintroduce its five-substitute rule for the remainder of the season.


And to nobody’s surprise, it turns out that the wealthier clubs in the league are the ones who are pushing for the rule to be reintroduced, while the slightly less well-off teams are firmly against it.


The five-substitute rule was first introduced following the restart of last season, but it was scrapped for the current campaign following a vote from the 20 Premier League clubs.


However, all the other top leagues in Europe, such as the Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, French Ligue 1 and the Italian Serie A, have opted to stick with the five-substitute rule for the 2020/2021 season.


First Brexit, and now this – England really doesn’t want to be associated with the rest of Europe, do they?


There are, however, several teams that are calling for the five-substitute rule to be reinstated, with fears over players picking up injuries due to fixture congestion.


After all, unlike the rest of the other European leagues, the EPL also does not enjoy a winter break.


This has led the respective managers of Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United to all speak up about having the five-substitute rule back in place in order to prevent further player injuries.


Speaking after City’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, Guardiola revealed he discussed the issue with Klopp at the end of the game.


WATCH: Guardiola expresses frustration over three-sub rule


“We spoke about how we need to fight again and again for five substitutions,” said Guardiola. “Look, an international England player, Trent Alexander-Arnold, he’s injured. All around the world, there are five substitutions.


“But here we believe we are more special people and [use] just three players. We don’t protect the players. That’s why it’s a disaster with this calendar. I will demand, if the people allow my voice, to come back with five substitutions.


“It will help the players, the managers and everywhere to do it. If not, it’s difficult to sustain it.”


Klopp echoed Guardiola’s sentiments, as he said: “It's not an advantage [to be able to use five substitutes], it's a necessity. It happens in other countries; it was sold completely wrong and now you have this situation.


“Trent will be out for England, and [he] will not be the last or only one Gareth [Southgate] will have to deal with either.”


United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had also previously spoken about the need for the five-substitute rule.


WATCH: Solskjaer fears worst over Rashford injury


“I don’t understand and I cannot believe the vote went against because we have to look after the players. We have to think about the players. This season is the most demanding season of all,” the Norwegian explained.


“I can see the point why clubs voted against but if you take a step back and think about these professional footballers and their mental and physical health the only sensible solution would have been to give us the opportunity to rest a few more.


“We have already seen a lot of injuries in the Premier League. I would have liked to have five subs.”


The so-called ‘smaller’ teams of the EPL have, however, voiced their concern over how the five-substitute rule would give the wealthier clubs an advantage, due to their significantly stronger squad depth.


Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was among those who believes the current three-substitute rule should stay. Speaking to the BBC after his team’s 3-0 win over Arsenal, Smith said: “I only made one change in the 88th minute. The intensity was there from our players. We haven't got the biggest squad in the world and we have to manage our players.


WATCH: Arteta shoulders blame for Villa defeat


“I can sympathise with the teams that are in Europe but there are some big squads out there. I made my feelings known from the off that I thought they were right to stay with the three subs rule and now we have we started with it, we should certainly continue with it.”


Meanwhile, Sheffield United CEO Stephen Bettis have asked the teams calling for the five-substitute rule to “stop complaining” and get on with it.


“We remain suspicious that big clubs simply want to be able to sub off players to rest them to keep them fresh...the bigger the club, the stronger the bench,” he told Sky Sports. “Any change of rules midseason will clearly affect the integrity of the league.


“So far this season, clubs playing in Europe have endured a similar workload to clubs in the Championship and we don't hear them complaining, do we? Here at Bramall Lane, we have not seen an increase in muscle injuries.”


What do you think? Should the five-substitute rule be reintroduced to the EPL this season?




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