In his recent post-match conference against Belgium, England manager, Gareth Southgate stressed the importance of the Premier League needing five substitutions in a game. Other managers like Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all had their say on the problem. But so far, the Premier League is yet to react to criticism.
The Premier League is behind other leagues in Europe and need to introduce the rule as soon as possible with the safety of players and quality of football both at risk.
Southgate believes that a lack of change could also see England’s chances of success in the Euros in the summer greatly hampered. “We were able to make five changes against Belgium – we made four in the end – and clubs don’t have that option,” he said. “What will it take for that to change? There were a couple of less serious injuries against Belgium but what do we do? Wait until we get a load of really nasty ones?”
Though Southgate makes a good point, it could be argued that we are already at the point of seeing lots of nasty injuries.
England were ultimately left frustrated on Sunday, a 2-0 defeat to Belgium meant that they won’t be at the Nations League finals. Despite a poor performance Southgate has been pleased with his side and enjoyed the international time.
“We could not have prepared physically any better than we did last week. We have given players extra days’ recovery. We have tapered the training appropriately and we have still ended up with a couple of injuries. So that is a worry in the longer term because with no winter break … something has to give.”
With Premier League managers and now England manager all complaining of the same problem, surely the Premier League will finally listen and change the rules.
So far their voices have been ignored and their players are being put at risk. How many injuries will it take for the Premier League to wise-up?
England players, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling have all suffered injuries whilst on the international break along with other international players in the Premier League.
The Premier League had a difficult task of doing the fixture list. It was always going to be hard to fit all the games into a shortened season, injuries were likely to occur.
But the Premier League have shown their incompetence in not allowing five subs to be used and are ultimately putting the quality of football in the Premier League and England’s chance of success at risk.
The rise in Covid isolations amongst players is also resulting in players missing game time for their clubs. This is putting greater stress on footballers to play a number of games without rest due to the lack of cover within their positions.
Introducing five subs could help with players receiving the rest that they need and could significantly reduce the number of injuries within the Prem.
Liverpool have been one of the clubs with the highest number of players missing due to both injury and Covid isolations.
Naby Keita, Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah have all had to isolate due to positive Covid tests over the past two international breaks.
Gomez, Henderson and Andy Robertson have been added to Liverpool’s current injury list, all picking up injuries on international break. This has taken Liverpool’s number of players to be injured or isolate to 14 already this season. Klopp now faces an injury and selection crisis.
This is also a similar problem for many managers in the league. Guardiola has lost Nathan Ake who had to come off after only five minutes in the Netherlands’ friendly against Spain and could also be without Sterling.
A massive selling point to the Premier League is the excitement and surprising score lines. Anyone can beat anyone. This was shown on at first hand on 4th October. Manchester United’s embarrassing 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur was followed by seeing Aston Villa dismantle the Champions 7-2. A monumental day in the Premier League that will be remembered.
Without the top teams the league is nothing. Yes the competitiveness comes from the strength of teams across all parts of the league, but it is the Top six that brings the high viewership to the league.
The Premier League need to learn and make amends for their previous mistakes and ludicrous misjudgement.
Failure to do so will hurt your club and your country.