Ten Hag: Varane remains ambitious

Friday 03 February 2023 13:10

Erik ten Hag believes Raphael Varane is driven to lift silverware with Manchester United, after wrapping up an international career with France that yielded him a World Cup winner's medal in 2018.

The elegant Reds centre-back almost won the global tournament for a second time, when he helped Les Bleus to reach the final again in 2022. But this time, he was a runner-up and that thrilling showpiece defeat to Argentina has now proved to be Varane's last appearance for his country.

Ten Hag admitted Rapha's decision to retire internationally is a positive for United, given he will now only play at club level in what is already a congested season.

Part one: Erik's pre-Palace press conference Video

Part one: Erik's pre-Palace press conference

Press conference part one | Erik discusses Palace, Rashford's award, Varane's international retirement and more...

"Yeah, for United, I think it's good news," said the manager, at his pre-match press conference for United's home clash with Crystal Palace.

"I think Rapha has achieved everything, in international football, and club-wise.

"I think it is incredible what he has achieved. Big respect [to him] and I'm happy he now puts all of his energy and his experience into our team."

Having played 18 games so far this season and 47 in total, Varane is closing in on his first half-century of appearances for the Reds.

The 29-year-old is set to reach that landmark at some point in February, a month in which he could also collect his first trophy since arriving in Manchester - the Carabao Cup, when United take on Newcastle in the 2023 final at Wembley.

"He still has a lot to come because he is ambitious," said Ten Hag. "He wants to win with Manchester United."

Varane announces international retirement


Read the heartfelt message Rapha has posted as he calls time on a proud career with France.

Erik was asked if he'd had any input into Varane's decision, which was followed by a heartfelt message from the centre-back on social media.

"I didn't discuss [it with him]," replied the boss, at his media briefing.

"Rapha is experienced, he makes his own decisions of course about that. But he gave me the information that he was intending to do this, yes.

"I can only express my deep respect for his career until now."