Gareth Southgate: England boss wants Premier League to reconsider using five substitutions

England manager Gareth Southgate wants the Premier League to reconsider its limit of three substitutions per match as injuries mount amid a congested schedule.

Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have both withdrawn from the national squad ahead of their final Nations League group stage game against Iceland on Wednesday with fitness concerns.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said earlier this month it is “necessity” for clubs to have five substitutes per match in the Premier League, while Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola labelled the current three subs limit a “disaster”.

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The English top-flight is the only major European league that decided against continuing with the system this season, used towards the end of the last term after the coronavirus pandemic truncated the length of the 2019/20 campaign.

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

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“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?”

The Premier League is not expected to reintroduce the five-substitute rule this season despite some strong support from at least half of its clubs, following a survey of the clubs by Sky Sports News earlier this month.

Southgate, who is also unhappy at the lack of a winter break this season, said England had taken measures to try and help players recover physically but he worries the issue will persist if something is not done soon.

“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,” he added.

“(Injuries are) a worry in the longer term because with no winter break, something has to give.”

  • Henderson injury adds to Liverpool’s woes
  • Nations League: What’s at stake in final games?

Chelsea full-back Ben Chilwell was the latest England player to pick up an injury during Sunday’s 2-0 defeat in Belgium, which ended their hopes of reaching the Nations League finals.

PL ‘unlikely’ to reintroduce five subs rule this season despite strong support

The Premier League is not expected to reintroduce the five-substitute rule this season despite some strong support from at least half of its clubs.

Sky Sports News has surveyed 18 of the 20 teams and, while eight say they are still against it, 10 are in favour, with two of those having changed their mind on the issue in recent weeks.

However, a rule change needs 14 votes to pass and the issue has already been voted down twice at recent meetings – and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told MPs on Tuesday: “I don’t see it changing for the foreseeable future”.

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