Home » Raphael Varane following separate fitness programme

Raphael Varane following separate fitness programme

Ten Hag happy with form shown by French defender so far

by Ayantan Chowdhury
Raphael Varane

The Premier League is back and Sunday represents Erik ten Hag’s first shot at silencing Manchester United’s critics as they take on Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford.

The match will likely see skipper Harry Maguire starting with either of new recruit Lisandro Martinez or Victor Lindelof partnering him in the heart of the defence.

That begs the question: where does Raphael Varane rank among United’s central defensive options? The four-time Champions League winner is effectively fourth-choice at the moment.

Varane’s injury woes

Not many would have envisaged that when the former Real Madrid man was announced as a Red Devil in front of a packed Old Trafford last season.

He was expected to transform United’s leaky defence but last season was anything but as the 20-time English champions ended up conceding the most number of goals in their Premier League history.

Varane’s inconsistent showings were mainly down to injuries which prevented him from building any sort of rhythm. He featured in only 28 out of a possible 47 matches for the Reds.

Those problems have even carried on into the new season. The Lille-born defender picked up an injury while representing his national team while he suffered a knock in pre-season which forced him to miss games against Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace.

Supporters believe when fully-fit, the Frenchman is United’s best defender. Ten Hag is aware of the need to keep the World Cup winner fit and ready if United are to have a good season.

ETH knows how to get Varane firing

And that is exactly why United’s fitness coaches have prepared a separate programme especially tailored for the 29-year-old. United’s new boss is happy with the progress shown by the former Lens academy product.

“We built him during pre-season really carefully (with) an individual programme. The last three weeks, I think, every session he is on the pitch and I am really happy with that,” Ten Hag told reporters during the pre-match press conference.

The former Ajax boss also confirmed that Varane is slowly but surely coming back to his best and he will be an asset for United as they fight on four fronts.

“You see him growing, his fitness levels, his performance levels. I am happy about that as at the moment, Rapha will be fit and it is a huge boost for both the squad and the team.,” the manager added.

When fit and firing, Varane is expected to be Martinez’s partner, something that will please United supporters. But for now, the skipper and the Swede need to up their game so as to avoid further embarrassment like last year.

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