Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has said that Raphael Varane has been on the bench for the past few games due to tactical reasons.
The Frenchman was an undisputed starter when fit last season, but that is no longer the case. In his last three outings, he has started on the bench.
When pressed on the situation, Ten Hag said that there is internal competition and he was happy with combination of Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans in central defence.
The Dutch tactician added that he would ideally prefer to play Maguire or Varane on the right side as the build-up play is not that fluid when one of them operates at left centre-back.
He told Manutd.com: “It’s tactical reasons why I choose these partnerships. I think Harry and Jonny did quite well. Last year, Harry didn’t play a lot.”
“So, I was very happy with Rapha’s performance, and I have always been happy with his performance. But, in this moment, Harry is playing very good. There is internal competition.
“Ideally [either Maguire or Varane would play on the right side]. But there are moments in games or in certain games they can play together.
“They have already proved they can do it. But the build-up is not that fluid when one of them is playing from the left centre-half position.”
Ten Hag went on to say that Evans and Victor Lindelof are right-footed but they can comfortably play on the left side and ‘can make the right angles’.
We have predicted Varane to partner Maguire in the heart of the defence today, but the manager’s comments suggest that Lindelof could get the nod.
If that happens, there could be more questions raised over the future of Varane ahead of the New Year as he would not want to settle for a bench role.
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