Frank Lampard, head coach of Premier League club Chelsea has added his voice to the growing calls for the Premier League to allow for five substitutes in football matches once again.
The English top flight is the only major competition in Europe that returned to three at the start of the 2020/21 campaign, after five were allowed when the previous season resumed from the first COVID-19 lockdowns.
So far, amid a significant rise in the number of injuries this season, Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool manager and Pep Guardiola of Manchester City have been the loudest in criticising the decision.
English Football League clubs voted to adopt the five substitutes rule with immediate effect on Thursday. Following consultation with clubs, the EFL Board agreed to increase the permitted number of substitutes to five in all EFL fixtures taking place from November 20 until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Lampard, whose side is also competing in UEFA Champions League, is worried about the physical and emotional toll so many games will have on players who are returning from international duty to resume domestic and continental football.
“I think it is something we have to address again with the clubs. The circumstances have not changed since we had five subs at the start of restart,” Lampard said.
“My main concern is player welfare. They are under incredible stress, especially those playing in Europe.
“I don’t want anyone to cry their eyes out for players, we all know how lucky we are, but everywhere else has five subs so we have to revisit this in my opinion.”
The 42-year-old confirmed Christian Pulisic will not be in the squad again through injury for the trip to Newcastle on Saturday lunchtime. Thiago Silva also is deemed unlikely to travel to St James’ Park.
Lampard confirmed that Chelsea’s German attacking midfielder Kai Havertz, who had to observe a period of quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus earlier this month was back in training. As for Ben Chilwell, Lampard said he would have to make an assessment of the player’s fitness before confirmation.