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It’s time for Erik ten Hag to start Raphael Varane with Diogo Dalot dropping to the bench

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been reluctant to start Raphael Varane since the Manchester derby last month and his decision continues to surprise us.

The Dutchman does not believe the World Cup winner is good enough with his distribution and control from the left centre-back role. He shares the same opinion on Harry Maguire too.

Maguire, who has been in good form, has got the nod in the right centre-back position as a result while Varane has been restricted to late cameo appearances over the past few weeks.

In our opinion, this needs to change when United entertain Chelsea in the Premier League in midweek.

Against Newcastle United, the manager chose to play Luke Shaw alongside Maguire in central defence. Diogo Dalot was picked over Sergio Reguilon in the left-back position.

Shaw played a big part in keeping the Magpies at bay with some crucial clearances, but Dalot had a game to forget as Kieran Trippier and Miguel Almiron got behind him with ease.

United legend Paul Scholes highlighted before the game that Dalot is ‘not great defensively’ and he could face a ‘difficult’ night. His prediction came true as the Portuguese looked out of sorts.

Dalot lost possession on 22 occasions over 90 minutes. In our view, the €40 million-rated star should be replaced by Varane on Wednesday. Shaw should return to his customary left-back position.

It remains to be seen whether Ten Hag makes our recommended change. Dalot is not at his best when operating from left-back. The manager must realise the same sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Varane has cut a frustrated figure on the bench due to ‘tactical reasons’. Hopefully, the Frenchman will return to the starting XI for Chelsea’s visit of Old Trafford in midweek.

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