Varane leadership crucial ahead of first United Champions League start
Manchester United could go into the crucial Champions League group game against Villarreal with as many as three of our first choice back four unavailable.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is definitely out following his red card against Young Boys last time out, but there are also concerns surrounding the availability of England duo Luke Shaw and club captain Harry Maguire following their withdrawals against Aston Villa.
Diogo Dalot will come in for Wan-Bissaka at right-back, but if Shaw and Maguire are ruled out then Victor Lindelof and Alex Telles will probably come into a much-changed backline that will be playing together for the first time.
‘Champions League Varane’ crucial
After coming off the bench at half-time in Switzerland, Raphael Varane will be making his first Manchester United Champions League start under the lights at Old Trafford.
It will be an electric atmosphere but also a nervy one due to the importance of the game and the fact that we come into the clash off the back of back-to-back home defeats.
With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer potentially not having Shaw and Maguire as well as Wan-Bissaka, the importance of Varane to lead from the back has intensified.
The four-time Champions League winner is no stranger to the big occasion, he’s a man who has won it all, but he will have to lead a depleted backline against tricky opposition.
Varane knows all about Villarreal during his days at Real Madrid and that will be a massive advantage for United.
United have very little margin for error against Unai Emery’s side and that could transmit into the players’ performances on Wednesday in what could prove to be a nervy affair.
But United’s defenders and David de Gea will be looking to Varane for inspiration and to be that calming influence if and when tricky moments arise.
Although Varane won’t be the captain on Wednesday night, a captain’s performance is needed from the £34m summer signing (BBC Sport).
A clean sheet and a towering Nemanja Vidic style header to open his United account would be much-welcomed and would give our European campaign the lift off it desperately needs.
His teammate Paul Pogba calls him ‘Champions League Varane’ and let’s hope he more than lives up to that title come Wednesday night.