We are of course all perfectly aware of how the game has changed over the last decade or so. And of how much more importance is now laid at the feet of squad players. Gone are the years of first elevens with “back-ups” to cover for the odd injury here or there.
No, within these heady times of the multi-million pound earners, the depth and more importantly the quality of their number must be forever improved upon to ensure continuing success. With managers not only tactically rotating footballers to avoid injury, but to directly exploit an oppositions weakness by bringing in a “squad player” for a specific game, the importance is relevent now more than ever. Unfortunately though and this is the point of my article. As we know the Premier League only permits the naming of seven substitutes with the use of three of those during each game.
I began to wonder then if it were not time for a change too in how the allocated numbers are used. Below are the given specifics of the squad ruling.
- At the close of each transfer window teams must announce a squad list of 25 players.
- Eight of these 25 must be “home grown,” meaning they have been associated with the FA or Welsh FA for three seasons (or 36 months) prior to their 21st birthday. Home-grown does not refer to nationality, simply how many years spent in England as a youngster.
- In addition to their 25, teams can include an unlimited number of players under the age of 21. Players under the age of 21 in this context were born on or after January 1, 1989.
- Clubs can change their squad list only during transfer windows, with a provisional rule in place for extenuating circumstances (like goalkeeping crises). The registered squad can be changed freely during transfer windows.
- These squad rules are in effect only for Premier League matches. These rules do not apply to the Champions League, Carling Cup, or FA Cup.
- Of these numbers seven shall be named as substitutes on match day, with three permited to be used on the field of play.