In Brief

‘Something has to give’: Gareth Southgate urges Premier League to rethink five substitutes rule

Player welfare concerns England head coach after a number of injuries

England boss Gareth Southgate has called on the Premier League to rethink its position on the number of substitutes allowed to be used during top-flight matches.

Currently three subs can be made in Premier League games, but at the end of last season when matches resumed after the Covid-19 delay it was increased to five. 

In August Premier League clubs voted against continuing to allow five subs for the 2020-21 season, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have questioned the decision not to sanction the extra two replacements, The Guardian says. 

During the current international break Southgate’s England squad has been hampered by injuries to players including Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson and he believes “something has to give” before the situation deteriorates, Goal.com reports.

“We were able to make five changes against Belgium – we made four in the end – and clubs don’t have that option,” Southgate 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?

“I have to be fair to the club managers. They are their players firstly, and they have the right to play them as they see fit. What we have got to do as a collective is to try to help the load.

“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.”

Sterling and Henderson have both returned to their clubs and will miss England’s clash against Iceland in the Uefa Nations League on Wednesday night (7.45pm, live on Sky Sports). Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell, who was taken off during the 2-0 defeat against Belgium on Sunday, has remained with the squad.  

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