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.
Monday 27th December 7:00pm
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 ‘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 – he’s [Pogba] the only one missing out, everyone else is on board,” added Rangnick.
“The development of the last week is extremely positive.”
United have not played since winning 1-0 at Norwich on December 11 after back-to-back postponements in the league.