By Nick Ware

3rd Nov, 2021 | 12:10pm

Valerien Ismael outlines West Brom benefits of five-sub rule

Valerien Ismael is in favour of being able to make five substitutes during matches as he feels it would be hugely beneficial for West Brom and others.

Traditionally, clubs are only allowed to make three substitutions during matches, but the number was extended to five last season amid the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That number has reverted back to three this season, save the newly-introduced concussion substitutions, though major European leagues have kept it as five, sparking widespread debate in the Premier League, with Burnley boss Sean Dyche a vociferous supporter of the traditional rules [BBC].

Ismael, however, sits on the opposite side of the fence, as evidenced in quotes shared on the Express and Star website.

“For us it could be brilliant,” Ismael said. “But there are a number of reasons why I think it is a good idea.

“More players in the squad know they will play – there will be more players involved in a game with five substitutes.

“For us, with the way we play, with our intensity, it’s easier to keep that intensity throughout the 90 minutes.

“If you look at Dara (O’Shea), he will come back after six months and at some point he will need to play. He will need minutes.

“And if you have five substitutes you can integrate him slowly, five minutes here, 10 minutes here so you get the confidence up.”

Big-club advantage?

The argument often given against the five-sub rule, and suggested by Dyche, is that it favours the so-called ‘big’ clubs in respective divisions, as they are more likely to have better players on the bench given their wider resources.

That means there are more opportunities for those clubs to change the course of a game, such as when a ‘smaller’ side is in the lead and hanging on for a draw or victory.

As it currently stands, Albion wouldn’t be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this rule change in the Championship, and in fact, it could hamper their bid for promotion.

Albion lost 3-0 at Fulham on Saturday and their unused outfield substitutes were Kean Bryan, Cedric Kipre and Adam Reach.

Fulham, meanwhile, had Jamaica international Michael Hector, ex-Ajax full-back Kenny Tete and Tottenham Hotspur academy graduate Josh Onamah. The difference in levels was stark.

But with the high-intensity style of football deployed by Ismael, he might be right about it suiting his side to make more substitutes to introduce more energy.

But is it right for the game in general? That’s the sticking point, and there seems no obvious answer at present.

In other West Brom news, this rarely-seen Albion player is in line for a shock start v Hull after a major recent development.

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