Manchester United’s injury struggles have played a huge role in their underwhelming start to the campaign.
Defensively in particular, Erik ten Hag has been left short and has had to get by with a patched up back four for the majority of the season.
It feels like no player in United’s defensive ranks has been able to get a consistent run of games under their belt, including French centre-back Raphael Varane.
However, in the last couple of weeks he has had to make do with a place on the bench despite being back to fitness.
Ten Hag has cited tactical reasons for picking Harry Maguire and free transfer Jonny Evans in front of Varane in recent games, leaving the World Cup winner out in the cold.
As reported by The Daily Mail, former United defender Rio Ferdinand has spoken on Varane’s situation on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube show.
The decision to start Evans over Varane has raised a few eyebrows and Ferdinand believes Varane must be fit and ready due to his participation in squads, leaving him perplexed as to why he isn’t in the first XI.
“We don’t know. If he’s on the bench, you think he must be fit. In my mind, when you’re on the bench you can play – because you could have to come on in the first minute if someone gets injured.
So if you’re fit enough to travel and get on the bench, you’re fit (to play). So I don’t know what the reason is,” he said.
Varane’s pedigree has left fans echoing Ferdinand’s sentiments on questioning Varane’s current role in Ten Hag’s plans and the former England defender feels he will be shocked to be playing second fiddle to Evans.
“I know that Varane is waking up and his head has got scramblers going off it in, because he’s thinking: ‘I’ve banged out five Champions League medals, I’ve played an integral part in all of those, I’ve played with the best players in the world. I’ve come to Man United and Jonny Evans is starting in front of me!’
“No disrespect (to Evans). Regardless of what Evans has done, there is no way Jonny Evans was ever in Varane’s mind. He would never have been thinking about Jonny Evans,” said Rio.
Victor Lindelof started, and scored the winner next to Harry Maguire, keeping a clean sheet in the process.
Having called time on playing for his country, the upcoming international break will give Varane the chance to get back to full fitness and impress the manager on the training pitch, in time for the resumption of the Premier League at the end of the month.