Southgate shares Klopp’s fears over player burnout


England manager Gareth Southgate shares Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp’s concerns about player fatigue amid a congested schedule and says the decision to revert to three substitutes from five in the Premier League could have a knock-on effect at the Euros.

Soccer’s rule-making body, the International Football Association Board, gave leagues the option of continuing to use five substitutes per match in the 2020-21 campaign after introducing the system earlier this year, with games coming thick and fast after the COVID-19 pandemic truncated the length of the season.

However, England’s top flight decided to return to three substitutions per game at the start of the new campaign.

Klopp, whose squad has been hit by illness and injury, was left fuming last week when the Premier League did not vote to increase the number of substitutions per game.

“Juergen will be like me, looking at what March looks like when teams are at the end of the Champions League … going for the league title,” Southgate told reporters after Monday’s World Cup qualifying draw.

“What we have tried to affect is that we’ve lobbied UEFA for five subs in the Nations League, which I think was a good decision. I know there are talks about the FA Cup going in that direction. They are the bits that as an FA we can control.”

Southgate said he understood Klopp’s frustrations as other top leagues in Europe had opted to continue with five substitutions and highlighted the way the German football association (DFB) and league cooperate.

“In Germany the DFB and Bundesliga work so closely together on these things. We don’t have that power on fixtures with the Premier League or the substitutions,” he added.

“I think from a national team point of view, a compact season like this, it’s always a concern what you’re going to get at the end of it.”

The Euros, which were postponed by a year due to the pandemic, kick-off on June 11 next year.