Millwall manager explains why he isn’t keen on five-sub rule staying for next season

by Richard Cawley

Gary Rowett is hoping the English game does not allow five substitutions to be made next season – because he reckons it is too easy to disrupt the flow of matches.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) are allowing each competition to decide whether to stick with the two additional changes, the increase was aimed at reducing the workload of players after a lengthy break in action due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s been semi-helpful in this period but I wouldn’t be a massive advocate in the long term because the games are so much slower,” said the Millwall manager.

“It is so easy towards the end of the game just to slow it down and kill the game. We had it against Middlesbrough and we’ve done it ourselves. The referees don’t seem to be in any rush for throw ins to be taken or keepers to take their goal-kicks more quickly.

“With the five subs and the water breaks it means you can break up the match so easily. It makes it almost a bit of a farce in the final 15 minutes. It’s certainly not something I’m an advocate of next season.”

Mahlon Romeo and Shane Ferguson both came off in the closing stages of Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Blackburn but both look set to be available for the derby at QPR tomorrow.
Right-sided defender Romeo is managing a groin issue.

“We know probably 70-75 minutes in is when it starts to tighten up,” said Rowett. “In some ways it helped us because I had to make a tactical call – it made sense to get Mahlon off and change to a back four to give us more energy to press and not come under so much pressure.

“Fergie got a little whack, but again he’s played a lot of games. He’d started to fatigue. You start losing a little energy in the more advanced positions.

“No-one came off injured but the front three and the wing-backs are the five areas where you see it visibly in games – we just start to come off it around the 65-minute mark. It’s nice to have Jon Dadi [Bodvarsson] and Murray [Wallace[ to put on.”


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