Rotherham United Manager Paul Warne has always said that it’s important to have players on the bench waiting to come on if needed as good as the ones who are in the starting eleven.
And he was proved right recently for the Millers when Jamie Proctor came off the bench and scored against neighbours Sheffield United to get a point and against Swansea when Ryan Manning came on at half-time to score the two penalties that got us a home win.
And, of course, those substitutes come on to give pace when some of the other players are looking weary while they are there to come on for any injuries. The Millers needed to use two on Saturday at Norwich when Joe Newell and Clark Robertson had to be replaced due to injuries with Jon Taylor and Richard Wood. I don’t think Paul Warne particularly wanted to use two of his subs like that but at least these players were on the bench and were like-for-like for the two succumbing to injuries.
On Tuesday, I presume to a late injury to Kyle Vassell, we could only name five substitutes on the bench instead of the usual six. This isn’t the first time this has happened and I’m always a little bemused about it, especially at home.
I have heard both Paul Warne and former manager Steve Evans say they won’t put ‘kids’ on the bench just to make the numbers up – giving the reason that they don’t want that ‘kid’ to get all buoyed up and then them not getting on the pitch.
And I can, in a way, understand that.
But my way of thinking is at least ‘that kid’ has had experience of being on the bench, sitting with the first team players, warming up with them which, in my mind, must boost their confidence a bit even if they know that it’s a long shot that they’ll get minutes on the pitch.
I’m old enough to remember when you just had one sub on the bench – but then again, benches were much smaller in those days! – but now you get six to pick from, six who have a chance of coming on and I think unless you are away from home you should be able to fill those six places. I am in the mind that it looks a little unprofessional if you don’t.
What does anyone else think?