Should matchday squads be increased to 22?
2015-09-28 BY SaSa

Known as The Tinkerman for his love of team rotations, Claudio Ranieri now wants to be able to tinker with his side even more.

The Leicester City manager wants the number of players named in a matchday squad to be increased from 18 to 22. It’s an interesting proposal as teams would have a full team available on the bench.

In Ranieri’s home country of Italy, Serie A sides can have 12 subs to choose from on match days. So it is a tried and tested method.

Ranieri’s argument is that you pay 25 players so why should there only be 18 in a squad at any given time.

He also feels it could lead to more young players being given a chance of playing top-flight football. He said it would be a good opportunity to put a teenager on the pitch.

This makes sense as a youngster would not be included in a team with just seven subs but with 11 it is possible to put in one or two less experienced players. If the game is going well, they could be given a run out on the pitch to see how they cope.

However, younger players could easily be given a chance in a cup game or ‘less important’ league matches.

You will notice in Spain there tends to be a league starting XI and a different XI in the cup. This is good as it means more players get a chance to play competitive football. However, it can also lead to the argument that a club is not taking the cup games too seriously.

Fans also pay good money and want to see the best players. They need to feel they are getting value for their hard-earned cash and if they are basically watching the B team, they can feel disappointed.

That said, fans will be interested in seeing the talented young players who look like future stars. They can follow their progress to see if the emerging talent becomes the next Wayne Rooney or Gareth Bale.

Increasing the number of players in the squad will also keep interest levels up among players. It must be disheartening to rarely make the subs’ bench let alone the starting XI. If 22 players out of a 25-man squad are picked, players may train that bit harder or gain more of a competitive edge as they have more chance of getting on the bench.

The Premier League is a long, tough league and even more so for teams competing in cups or in Europe, so allowing more subs on the bench can also help managers when deciding to rest players. They can pick their 11 subs and, depending on how the game is going, allow younger, less experienced team members a chance to play.

Subs tend to be made because of an injury, a player being at risk of getting sent off or a need to change tactics – either become more defensive or more attacking.

Instead, managers could think about using all three subs per game. If you look at games in Spain, it is far more usual for all three subs to be used with the mentality that they have a playing team of 14 not just 11.

The argument could also be made as to why stick at just three substitutions? Often this can mean great players are sitting on the bench, younger players are not given a chance and clubs are disadvantaged in a game if a player goes off injured and all three subs have already been used.