Manchester United defender Raphael Varane is back on track after a strong performance to help France to a win over Poland.
Varane had come in for some criticism after captaining Les Bleus to a defeat in their final group game against Tunisia.
Former coach Bryan Le Roy had questioned Varane’s leadership, criticising him for failing to lift the French side’s second-string.
On Sunday he was back playing alongside the team’s regular starters in France’s last 16 clash over Poland. And naturally, the praise for Varane’s contribution returned.
Raphael Varane’s performance v Poland
Varane went head to head with Poland star Robert Lewandowski and came out on top. This bodes well for Manchester United’s Europa League clashes with Barcelona next year.
The United star would have kept a clean sheet if not for the Pole’s penalty in the ninth minute of injury time.
Varane completed 40 of 44 passes, made four interceptions and made one crucial block off the line.
This time the reaction in France was much more positive, with his under-whelming previous match written off as an aberration.
Le Journal Du Centre gave Varane a 7/10, writing: “He showed that his performance against Tunisia was an accident. Dangerous on set pieces, saviour of the Blues on his line in front of Kaminski.”
Le10Sport graded Varane as the team’s highest performing defender, with a 6.5/10, with Dayot Upamecano a 5/10.
Their report wrote: “The Manchester United player has stepped up. Present in duels, he repelled danger on many occasions, especially in the 46th minute when he pushed the ball back to his line. He left some space for the Polish attackers.”
Goal France rated Varane as a 6/10: “A correct and solid match with his participation in the triple save with Lloris and Theo Hernandez (38th).”
Varane will go up against England next Saturday in the quarter-finals, and could have to defend against Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford.
Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire will also be part of the Three Lions side hoping to knock out the current holders. But be warned, Varane won’t let his side relinquish the trophy easily.