12 Man Bench: Should the Premier League follow suit?


In recent years the amount of substitutes has gone from 5 to 7, but in Italy recently it has changed to 12. Is this something the Premier League should adapt to and follow? Lets take a look…

Player Happiness

So – on a regular match day, three to five players miss out on the squad, with travelling party’s being around 21-23 players. At teams like Man City or Chelsea, these players could be world class talents, that are nearing full fitness, for example. Having them on the bench could be ideal in a situation where the game is dead going into the final 15-20 minutes, and an ideal time to give them some all important minutes to gain match fitness. It will also keep more players happy, as if they are missing out week in, week out – they may become unhappy. If they are included and have a chance of getting some pitch time, they will remain relatively happy.

Options, Options, Options…

Managers are always talking about options on the bench, and that they cannot always include players they want, due to having to cover certain positions all over the pitch (Keepers, Left Backs etc). Should it be increased to 12 men, they could have players there specific to situations. A Super-Sub, a big man to hold the ball up in the dying minutes while 1-0 up, so to speak.

Blooding Youngsters

Young players in England do not get the playing time needed at a high enough level to develop early. Loaning them to lower league teams is all well and good, but they will not be playing with players they are familiar with, ones they would play with at their parent clubs, therefore when they return they have to re-adjust from League 1 or 2 quality to Premier League standard, and for that reason they may not get a look in on the first team squad. This system would allow a manager to put them on the bench, and if the situation allows (2/3/4-0 up with 15-30 minutes left) they could well be put on to gain all important experience at the level required to progress.

A good example I have seen recently is at Newcastle. Alan Pardew has taken Lubo Satka, Rolando Aarons and Adam Armstrong to first team games, and bar Armstrong on two occasions, they have all sat in the stands. Had a 12 man bench been a regulation, all three could have been on the bench against Hull, where the team were 3-1 up with 15 minutes left. At least two could have been used.

Will It Happen?

In conclusion – it is something that could help the national team in the short and long term, and save clubs pointlessly loaning their stars to lower league teams only for them to play limited football. Will it happen though? I think so. Within the next two seasons it could well be put in place.

What do you think about this subject? Will the Football Association/Football League put this in place? Or, as usual, will England stick with the old methods until it is brought in by FIFA or UEFA? Let us know!