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Figures close to Raphael Varane say he has accepted being out of Manchester United starting XI as a tactical decision

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has preferred Harry Maguire to Raphael Varane in his starting XI in recent weeks, with the Frenchman making his last three appearances from the bench.

The 30-year-old was omitted from the line-up that featured against Manchester City last month and has played just 11 minutes in the Premier League since then.

According to The Athletic, figures close to Varane say the former Real Madrid star has accepted the decision is tactical.

They also point out that there is always a way back for a player under Ten Hag as Maguire has proven, and the former France international will fancy his chances of playing his way back into contention.

Varane was beckoned upon to warm up by the Dutchman when Maguire appeared to be struggling with a knock early in the game against Luton Town on Saturday, and he reacted with a wry smile on his face as he put on his orange bib and got up out of his seat.

He also took to Instagram to post after the 1-0 victory and it will be intriguing to see whether he can displace Maguire going forward.

Ten Hag recently admitted he would ideally prefer to play the England international or Varane on the right side of central defence as the build-up play is not very fluid when one of them operates at left centre-back.

Maguire has been very impressive since forcing his way back into the starting XI, starting each of the last eight games across all competitions.

After producing several top-notch performances, only a huge dip in form, injury or suspension will see him drop out of the line-up anytime soon.

Having such depth and competition in the position is good news for Man United, and both players will look to keep impressing the manager in training and on the pitch as the battle for the starting berth continues.