Varane warming up ahead of kick-off

Ten Hag: Varane is a leader

Tuesday 27 December 2022 19:53

Erik ten Hag has praised Raphael Varane's leadership ahead of the Premier League game against Nottingham Forest.

The central defender represented France at the World Cup, where they reached the final, and will play for the first time since returning to the club – just nine days after that showpiece finale in Qatar. 

Indeed, he is the first of those involved in the 3-3 draw, which went to a penalty shootout, to reappear at club level - Tottenham's Hugo Lloris was an unused substitute against Brentford.

He will be partnered with usual left-back Luke Shaw, with Ten Hag admitting we had to get ‘creative’ with the line-up as a result of an illness affecting the likes of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Scott McTominay.

Luke Shaw will partner Raphael Varane at the back against Nottingham Forest.
“I talked with him, and I explained to him and he was aware of it [the situation],” the boss told MUTV ahead of kick-off. 

“We have high ambitions and he is an important squad player, not only that [but] he is a leader, he took responsibility: ‘I am ready to play’.”
Ten Hag says the club continue to be cautious with Varane, due to previous injuries and the intensity of the World Cup, but declared tonight an ‘emergency case’. 

“We have to take care of him – this is an emergency case and that is why he is playing,” he added in his pre-match media interviews. 

“He was back in training so it is not like he wasn’t training. He is so important for the squad, for the team, and for the manager. He directly told me he is ready.” 
Varane is ready Video

Varane is ready

Erik ten Hag explains his line-up, including Raphael Varane's first start for United since October...

Despite being in an unusual position, Ten Hag is confident Shaw can do the job alongside Varane for us.. 

"Last week, he offered himself in this position, [Casemiro] did the same and he played in the position last week, now we have to sort it out in this moment in the season in the centre-back position," he told MUTV. 

"Players are experienced, they know what to do, I'm convinced that it is a good line-up."