Manchester United caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick feels Premier League should reinstate five substitutes rule

December 23, 2021

Manchester United caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick wants the Premier League to reintroduce the rule allowing teams to make five substitutes.

United are one of many sides to have experienced a Covid-19 outbreak this month, seeing matches against Brentford and Brighton postponed, as well as their training ground shut down.

The Premier League is meeting managers and captains on Thursday afternoon to discuss how best to manage player welfare as fixture congestion becomes a big issue, confounded by the busy winter schedule.

Rangnick feels it would make sense to reinstate five subs - a rule which has remained in the rest of Europe's top leagues since it was introduced in summer 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.

"The five subs were implemented when Covid started, and I think it was the right decision to do that to save energy for players, especially if they have just recovered from Covid," said Rangnick, ahead of the Monday Night Football encounter with Newcastle, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

"The same is true right now - we are in a similar situation to the one we had one-and-a-half years ago, therefore I don't see why it shouldn't be as it was one-and-a-half years ago. As far as I know, in Europe England is the only country where they only allow three subs.

"You're still allowed eight field players on the team sheet, you should be able to replace five, you will always have five players on the bench who cannot be substituted on and cannot play."

He added: "I think it would be of great help to have five subs. I would be much more in favour of having five subs. I think we should seriously think about that again. Most of the players would be in favour of that."

Rangnick's suggestions on how to tackle fixture pile-up

With player welfare high on the agenda, Rangnick - a relative newcomer to English football - was asked for his views on how best to tackle fixture congestion.

He offered up two areas which may help avoid a fixture pile-up in the future.

"England is the only league in the top five leagues in Europe that plays two cup competitions," said the former RB Leipzig and Schalke boss. "France abolished the other one I think a year or two ago.

"This is something we could maybe speak about and discuss. I know the Carabao Cup has been kept for the third and fourth division teams to recoup the financial situations of those clubs.

"I think if we talk about a tight calendar and playing too many games - this is something we can discuss.

"The other issue - which has been changed in the last weeks - is in the FA Cup after a draw you have a replay. I think this is a good idea.

"In other countries you play extra-time and penalties and you never have that replay situation. Those might be issues that you can talk about."

Rangnick's 'extremely positive' update on United squad

Rangnick gave United fans a boost ahead of Monday night's game at St James' Park with almost his entire squad available after a Covid-19 outbreak which left them with as little as seven players available only a week ago.

"We trained on Tuesday, yesterday and today and we have 25 players - [Paul Pogba] is the only one missing out, everyone else is on board," he said.

"The development of the last week is extremely positive."

He added: "As far as I could see in training, the players are all in good shape. I can say most of them, if not all of them, might be available. I will have to take some difficult decisions on who will be in the squad and in the starting XI."

Rangnick wants the squad to protect themselves from the virus by getting vaccinated, reducing the risk of another outbreak in the squad.

"We need to make sure we have most of the players vaccinated," he added.

"Even if you are vaccinated two or three times, you can still catch the virus. But you are protected from severe symptoms."

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