United desperately need Varane to lead and unite broken dressing room
Raphael Varane has had an injury plagued start to life at Manchester United and an unhappy dressing room has no doubt hindered his adaptation.
But the Frenchman cannot be happy with his own performances since arriving in England for £34m (BBC Sport).
Although he was making his first Manchester United appearance for nearly two years, it wasn’t Phil Jones who looked rusty and nervous against Wolves on Monday night.
Since returning to the side against Newcastle, Varane has come up against the league’s best dribblers in Adama Traore and Allan Saint-Maximin.
But the former Real Madrid man looked hesitant against the speed demons and uncharacteristically dived in on Traore during the latter stages of Monday’s defeat.
The frantic pace, tempo and physicality is totally different to La Liga, which is a lot slower and more focused on technical qualities.
Varane thought he had more time in possession against the Magpies and was caught out by Sean Longstaff which led to Newcastle’s opener.
The 28-year-old currently looks vulnerable in this United side and that’s something that has to be urgently addressed alongside a host of other problems Ralf Rangnick is tasked with fixing.
United need Raphael Varane’s commanding and reassuring presence
At Real Madrid, Varane conjured up a dominant partnership with the aggressive and passionate Sergio Ramos who had a positive influence on the Madrid dressing room.
But at Manchester United Varane doesn’t have that luxury, the club’s captain Harry Maguire hasn’t been able to replicate his Euros form and the pair have both had their injury struggles.
Unlike Ramos, Maguire doesn’t carry the same influential aura in the dressing room, but Varane certainly should.
Rangnick desperately needs the serial winner Varane to lead from the back and become the dominant centre halve that United so badly crave.
That doesn’t mean playing in the same reckless manner that brought Ramos so many red cards, but we need him to be on the front foot and reducing the volume of shots David de Gea is currently facing.
At Madrid, Varane was given additional protection by the Spanish giants’ talented midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
He isn’t being given that at United, and is instead playing in a disjointed side that seemingly doesn’t have any idea of how to defend or attack.
But after winning the World Cup and being a four-time Champions League winner, United need the serial winner to unite the different cliques within the squad, which are reportedly forming.
Alongside the likes of David de Gea, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, Varane is an experienced superstar who can pull the team out the mire.
Varane was injured for all four of our matches against the Premier League’s top four and keeping him fit for the remainder of the campaign is crucial to United’s chances of overcoming our latest malaise.
But just like the majority of Manchester United’s under-performing stars, Varane has to address his own poor form first.
If Varane starts to be that positive influence from the back, then maybe, just maybe that could prove to be a contagious positive trigger that pushes his team mates to follow suit.
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