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Injury Crisis In Football Should Send Warning To Saints
Friday, 13th Nov 2020 10:11

Recently there has been a spike in the number of injuries in football, although some of them have been down to reckless challenges such as that by Jordan Pickford on Virgil Van Dijk, others have not been the result of foul tackles, Saints should be looking at this.

Gone are the days when it was one sub only in football and now the big clubs are calling for five subs, although this is a bit drastic given the size of squads these days, the recent injuries in football have highlighted the need to make use of the full number of substitutes available.

The injury to Joe Gomez apparently happened not from a tackle but from turning and catching his knee in the ground, closer to home Danny Ings damaged his knee at Aston Villa very late in the game making a challenge with his team 4-1 up and in an area of the pitch he didn't need to at that stage of the game, it wasn't a tackle however that did for Ings but his leg getting caught under him.

A friend of mine has for some time been on at me of his concern that given his injury record Danny Ings should be used sparingly, he had said so the very day before the game, insisting that if Saints were winning the game and well in control, or for that matter losing it with no chance of getting back into it, then why risk an injury to your most important player, sadly his words came true.

I am loathe to criticise Ralph Hasenhuttl, the man has been a breath of fresh air to this football club and has the potential to be our greatest ever manager and I do not say that lightly, but his use of substitutions this season has been sparse and therefore risking injury not just to Danny Ings but the rest of the squad.

Ralph likes to use a condensed squad, partly through necessity, ie a team of Saints side can't have 25 internationals ala Man City and partly through the fact that he likes to weld his side into a tight outfit.

But it means he needs to use his substitute bench more liberally and perhaps more thoughtfully.

If we look at the 8 Premier League games so far distinct pattern emerges, in half of the games we have used only two subs and in the games where we have used all three it appears to be a pattern of an early sub, indeed two have been made at half time(I injury & 1 tactical) a substitution with 10-15 minutes to go and then a sub in the final 5 minutes of the game.

This season Saints have made 20 substitutions out of possible 24 available.

4 have been down to injury
10 have been tactical
7 have been in the final 5 minutes

I take the point that sometimes the situation dictates when & why you make these subs, but it is invariably the games where the situation has not dictated when the issues happen.

My friend had expressed his concerns about why Ings had been left on against Everton, in that game when they went down to 10 men with 20 minutes left, we didn't make a change till the 86th minute and then another in the 89th minute, we didn't make a third.

He reasoned what was the point at that stage in risking Ings, the job was done, rest him and keep him fresh for the next game.

It was a similar situation at Villa, we were 4-1 up, yes we had had two injuries, but Shane Long should have been on for Ings with at least 10 minutes to go.

Yes Ings is a very important player for us, but we are far from a one man team as we showed against Newcastle, in both games we needed to rest players once the game was won, not just the likes of Ings, but to give players a rest, we have had several hamstring injuries of late, that is down to fatigue.

At Villa the Bertrand & Ings went off injured in the final 10 minutes, whilst we could not have predicted either injury, we certainly should have used a second sub by the 75th minute given we were 4-1 up at the time.

But we also need to be giving those who are not starting at the moment game time, we have to keep the fresh and match ready, the youngsters need a little more than 5 minutes here and there.

It is a squad game, this is a different season than normal and a little more condensed, but it is not that much more that it needs 5 subs, it merely means that we need to ensure that we use the 3 changes we have in the right way.

As I said I am loathe to criticise Ralph Hasenhuttl, but we need to make sure that players that are most important to us and cannot be easily replaced are used properly, the backroom staff on the bench should be pointing this out to him, at Villa taking Bertrand off was not an obvious option we didn't have another right back on the bench, but giving Ings a rest was, injury risk aside we don't want him burning himself out.

So there is a lesson to be learned not just by Saints but all football clubs, the nature of the game these days is that injuries seem to be more prevalent that a decade or two ago, some are unpreventable, but others are, not just with careful substitutions but by resting players when there is the chance.

It is a fine line, no football fan likes to see their manager put out a weakened side, even if it is just a youngster in to give an established player a rest , but that fine balance has to be struck if we are to avoid injury crisis's, in some positions we can take the strain, but in others we can't.

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Fordy added 11:10 - Nov 13
I would like to see Fifa ban all substitutions after the 90th minute. Most managers save a sub if they are winning for after the 90th minute to waste time, but it makes for very poor entertainment.

I am not sure if 5 subs is good as it favours the big clubs. But limiting late subs would encourage managers to use their subs for purposes other than time wasting.

saintmark1976 added 11:39 - Nov 13
When you are four goals to the good with less than thirty minutes to play, leaving your top goal scorer and prized asset on the pitch is simply bad management however you try and cut it Nick.

AirFlorida added 12:17 - Nov 13
I'm one of the few who thinks 5 subs would benefit our players and our style of play and am not constantly getting my knickers in a twist worrying about how this benefits the larger clubs. It benifits us, so end of for me.

I_would added 12:38 - Nov 13
Ralph needs a quality assistant. His subs have been suspect since he arrived.

TimSaint added 12:45 - Nov 13
Hindsight is a wonderful thing !!

Yes RH could make a few more subs to 'rest' players for the last 10 mins or so, but what happens if that sub gets injured, or like at Villa, we concede a couple, but perhaps a bit earlier ? People will say he should have kept Ings or our better players, on the pitch in case we got a chance to kill the game off - he can't win and can't please everyone.

Ings has been virtually injury free for a season and a quarter and looks fitter than ever with his pressing etc. Perhaps RH wants to keep his best players on the pitch ? Anyway, he got his injury as a result of landing awkwardly on his leg as a result of a bad challenge - which can happen to any player at any time of the game.

Players train to last at least 95 mins these days, so I doubt giving them a 10 minute rest will make that much difference. If Ings or Bert didn't get injured, this article would not have been written.

Anyway, we have worked well over and since (first) lockdown and the majority of our performances and results are a tribute to that. I therefore find it strange that the writer of this article is attributing fatigue to our players getting hamstring injuries !! These can strike at any time - indeed lots of players get them during their pre-match warm ups !!

As a side - I suffered from hamstring pulls in both legs, lower back pains and achilles pains all at once, so went to see an Osteomyologist. He realigned my back and 3 days later, all was perfect and I was back playing (Veterans) football again !! :-)

claus5 added 12:49 - Nov 13
What is the correct minute for Ings to be substituted in your opinoin? 2-0 at half time, does he stay on? 2-0 after 65 minutes? There is no right or wrong, it has to be up to the manager.

d_ember added 13:33 - Nov 13
Firstly I do not believe our schedule to have been excessive, OK a few have been off on international duty as well, but that is no more than usual, in fact our one game a week has been pretty normal. There our injuries have just been one of those things, and we all know the squad depth is fairly shallow.

The big boys with their Euro games has been a bit of a slog, but again Gomez is prone to the odd injury, and no doubt was wearing blades which have long been criticised by some players and physios a like, but that is a guess. What it does demonstrate is that although the big boys, with the exception of Liverpool, all have huge squads their managers feel that their first choice is still somewhat limited. We have not seen the level of rotation as in the past. Yes they all have enough to make a difference should they be allow 5 subs, but as a first choice they are all somewhat limited. Liverpool seem to rely a lot on their youth and have a similar squad structure to us, the other team that may prosper this season is Chelsea.

underweststand added 21:42 - Nov 13
Making subs. when you are leading by 2 or 3 goals and in control is OK to bring on a few youngsters to get game time, and bring off a striker who's worked his socks off and got his goal, but as we saw in the Villa game, suddenly getting 3 injuries distorts the formation and can lead to problems.
I don't think we should say that Danny Ings is injury-prone after his previous season, and the incident in the Villa game was more of an accident than from a foul. Likewise Gomez (apparantly) landed awkwardly in training with no-one near him ...no-one's fault.

Considering the amount of training than top players do I often wonder why there aren't even more knee injuries ( a very common occurrence). Of course we want capable people on the bench, but sometimes sh*t happens as when Jake Vokins was unavailable, just at the time Ryan Bertrand was out injured.
One thing we do know is we have a top class medical staff who know just how to handle injuries and get players back fit ASAP, but obviously a hamstring injury is easier to treat than an ACL., or a broken leg.

Big_T added 00:48 - Nov 15
This fuss about injuries this season is false,
Last season after eight games Bournemouth had 57 games missed by players through injury Brighton 43, Norwich had 41

This year after the shortened inter season break the restart season and "hectic" match schedule Premier League serious injuries games missed stands at 471 !

Last year 19/20 season"before" any global craziness after 8 games the games missed injury total stood at 483 !!

So should we take from these numbers that players are actually less prone to injuries than previous seasons and keep the schedule busy or is the case of a couple of the " bigger" clubs got away with it last year but this year that are having their share of injuries so "it's not fair" everything must be changed to make it easier for the big teams !!!

I say they should suck it up like everyone else has had to in the past !!

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