News24.com | Aston Villa boss Dean Smith not keen on 5 substitutes

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Dean Smith during the Carabao Cup final between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on 1 March 2020 (Getty Images

Dean Smith during the Carabao Cup final between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on 1 March 2020 (Getty Images

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has questioned the introduction
of five substitutes as the Premier League prepares to resume.

Villa host Sheffield United on Wednesday, the first game in
the top flight since it was postponed in March because of the coronavirus
pandemic.

The division is packing in 92 games in 39 days and
football’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board, gave
competitions the option of increasing substitutes to protect players’ welfare.

Premier League clubs voted in favour and teams can also name
nine substitutes instead of seven, but Smith feels it gives some sides an
advantage.

He told a press conference: “I wasn’t for it. I just
believe we started the season with certain rules and now we have changed it. I
suppose it helps the clubs with the bigger squads.

“There was talk to change it because there is more risk
of injury but having more subs doesn’t help that. I just wanted it to stay as
it was. I think Sheffield United were the same.

“Having five subs gives us the chance to rotate the
squad during the game. It is like being away in a World Cup camp and playing a
mini-tournament.”

Villa are second bottom in the Premier League and played the
final game before the shutdown, a 4-0 defeat at Leicester in March.

Victory over the Blades, their game in hand over their
relegation rivals, would send them out of the drop zone with nine matches
remaining and Smith is eager to get started.

“It is an honour, the eyes of the world will be on
us,” he said ahead of the behind-closed-doors game.

“The players during the lockdown have been very
compliant with all the work that was sent them. They are itching to get back.

“The biggest problem was having no timelines to work
from, so finally getting the fixtures was great to get an itinerary planned. We
are people who want to plan ahead and it’s difficult to do that with no
timeline.”

Wesley and Tom Heaton are sidelined as they recover from
long-term knee injuries, but John McGinn is available after fracturing his
ankle in December.

– TEAMtalk media

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