Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has dismissed the idea of scrapping football over the festive period in England, comparing the idea to “abolishing the Queen”.
COVID-19 outbreaks among several Premier League clubs has forced the postponement of a number of fixtures, but Rangnick does not believe that introducing a winter break over Christmas is in keeping with the country’s traditions.
The German did, however, question some of English football’s practices, including the existence of two domestic cup competitions – the FA Cup and the EFL Cup.
“I’ve watched Premier League football for the last 40 years so when it was also the First Division and I know what kind of tradition it is to play football over Christmas and on Boxing Day, the 27th, the 30th and even New Year’s Day or the 2nd January,” Rangnick said to Manchester United’s official website.
“So, if somebody came across the idea to abolish then we might as well speak about abolishing the five o’clock tea or the Queen or whatever – this is all part of the tradition of this country and I’m very much looking forward to being part of this for the first time in my career.
“There might be one or two issues we could think about or seriously discuss. In the future does it still make sense to have two cup competitions?
“All other big European leagues have only one so this might be an issue worth talking about again.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 27, 2021
Rangnick also voiced his support for the reintroduction of five substitutions in matches as opposed to the regular three as clubs juggle injuries and positive COVID-19 cases.
“Of course, we are also discussing that it makes sense to have five subs instead of three now we have COVID times again,” Rangnick continued.
“The reason the five substitutes were implemented was for COVID, now we have a COVID situation again and we still have 18 players on the team-sheet and for me, it makes sense to be able to substitute not just three, but five players.”
The 63-year-old has also given opportunities to several teenagers across all competitions, including two starts for Anthony Elanga (104 minutes) and one for Amad Diallo (68 minutes) as well as substitute appearances for a handful of others like Teden Mengi, Shola Shoretire, Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage.
Rangnick insists he was simply continuing a trend set as part of the club’s culture long before his arrival.
“I think since the ‘Busby Babes’ this has always been part of the DNA of the club and the same was true under Sir Alex Ferguson in those 27 years,” Rangnick added.
“It’s not only about youth, it’s about being talented and having the right personality and mentality and if those things come together then of course I want to play as many of those young players as possible.
“We had three, four or five of them in our squad already and for me, it’s important to develop those players.”
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