Paul Scholes has suggested that Erik ten Hag may be forced to make drastic changes to his Manchester United side in light of Raphael Varane’s injury.
The Frenchman sustained an injury against Chelsea yesterday, ruling him out for United’s next six matches in the runup to the World Cup.
With Varane having forged a fantastic partnership with Lisandro Martinez, the news is a huge blow for Ten Hag.
And Scholes has cast doubts on how United will cope in the former Real Madrid man’s absence, with the other defenders at the club lacking his quality:
“The rest of them… Lindelof is going to come in quite slow, Maguire, we know the troubles he’s had, we know Martinez isn’t a one-v-one defender.”
That last comment does seem a little strange, considering Lisandro Martinez has been dribbled past just 0.3 times per 90 minutes – the same as Varane – and has more ball recoveries in deep positions than any other United player.
However Scholes does still have a point.
Fielding a weaker defensive unit could force Ten Hag into making changes elsewhere on the pitch, according to Scholes:
“You wonder how that will affect the team, especially in the middle of the pitch because you’ll be thinking he’ll have to play two holding players to protect whatever is behind him.”
If it didn’t already, Casemiro’s signing in the summer must look like an excellent piece of business for United now, as months ago Scholes’ comment would have thrown United fans into nightmarish cold sweats over the prospect of the resurrection of the dreaded ‘McFred’ partnership.
Nevertheless, even with Casemiro in the side, playing McTominay or Fred beside him would likely spell trouble for Christian Eriksen, who has been vital to United’s ball progression from deeper areas this season.
Varane’s injury could send shockwaves through the team that go well beyond the defence.