West Ham's Moyes changes mind on five substitutions rule

West Ham United manager David Moyes reacts after Fulham are awarded a penalty Pool via REUTERS/Julian Finney/Files
West Ham United manager David Moyes reacts after Fulham are awarded a penalty Pool via REUTERS/Julian Finney/Files

(Reuters): West Ham United boss David Moyes said on Friday that he was initially not in favour of retaining the five substitutions rule as he thought it would help the bigger clubs, but has since had a change of heart after seeing the rising injury count.

Many managers were critical of the Premier League for not opting to use five substitutions amid a congested schedule like Europe's other top leagues, with England boss Gareth Southgate also deeming it necessary as player fatigue led to injuries.

"My opinion was that we should just have three subs because I felt it would help sides with the bigger squads and budgets, but what I didn't foresee was the amount of injuries," Moyes told reporters ahead of Sunday's match at Sheffield United.

"We've not had a great deal of injuries and many clubs have not had a great deal of injuries.

"The clubs which have suffered the most have had European football. I think for the fairness of the game, for this season only, I wouldn't be against changing and going to five substitutions."

Moyes said West Ham forward Michail Anotnio is back in training after recovering from an injury but he will be assessed over the next two days to see if he can play this weekend.

Antonio, the club's joint top scorer with three goals in six games so far, has not played for the London side since injuring his hamstring in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City last month.

"Michail is back training and we've got a couple of days yet to see how he is. He's getting much closer that's for sure." Moyes said.

"What he has done in the last few months, his form has been so good. He's a physical presence, really important. If we can get him back, he has been great. I don't want to say if we can because we are not quite sure."