Lizarazu talks up Raphael Varane's importance to France

France got a dose of Manchester United’s rotation problems this Sunday when they left Raphael Varane out of the team and lost 2-0.

Varane has won every game he has played for club and country this season, while the teams have lost every game he has missed.

His absence from the France backline in their defeat was highlighted by 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu.

The former left-back told BeIN Sports that Varane’s guidance is essential for the younger players in the France team.

Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Lizarazu talks up Raphael Varane

Lizarazu explained: “The presence of Raphaël Varane is essential, because it reassures his young teammates.

“I was surprised by the quality of the Danes’ game, they fought every ball well. They put an aggressive and constant pressing. We only existed for 20 minutes.”

The observation is one which applies to both France and for Manchester United. Like Lizarazu, Varane won the World Cup with France at 2018, and even better, he won the Champions League four times with Real Madrid.

In France’s win against Austria last week he lined up with Jules Kounde, 23, and Benoit Badiashile, 21.

Against Denmark, France picked Badiashile, Dayot Upamecano, 23, and William Saliba, 21. Without 29-year-old Varane in the line-up, the defence lacked experience and were picked apart by a Christian Eriksen inspired Denmark.

Varane’s experience has also been very useful for Manchester United this season. He has been a calming presence in the back four.

Tyrell Malacia and Diogo Dalot are both 23, with Lisandro Martinez just a year older at 24. Varane’s combination of quality and experience is an ideal balance for them.

United’s alternatives are Harry Maguire, 29, and Victor Lindelof, 28, who just don’t have the wealth of experience Varane does, despite being of a similar age.

Varane now has a week to prepare for United’s match with City next weekend, and the younger players in defence will certainly be thankful to have him alongside him.

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