Raphael Varane is so important for France, says Marcel Desailly

Manchester United centre-back Raphael Varane is crucial to France’s chances of winning the World Cup, says Marcel Desailly.

Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps has declared the 29-year-old available for France’s World Cup opener against Australia tomorrow evening.

But while United’s number 19 has seemingly won his battle to be fit for the tournament in Qatar, tomorrow’s clash against the Socceroos will be exactly a month since the former Real Madrid serial winner came off injured against Chelsea.

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The four-time Champions League winner will be lacking match fitness heading into France’s tournament opener but given the star-studded absentees the defending champions have had to contend with, Deschamps may throw his influential defensive leader into the starting line-up against Australia.

Raphael Varane is so important for France, says Marcel Desailly

The 87-time France international played a starring role in Les Bleus winning in Russia four years ago, and with the likes of N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema all missing – Varane’s experience and importance has somewhat increased.

Despite France having an embarrassment of riches in the centre-back department, and a number of youngsters coming through the ranks, former World Cup winner Desailly wants the serial winner Varane marshalling the backline.

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The former Chelsea centre-halve told talkSPORT: “I am a big fan of the number of defenders we have from (Dayot) Upamencano, (Ibrahima) Konate, we have a lot. (Wesley) Fofana is injured – unfortunately for him.

“We need Varane because he knows the international level, he’s a winner.

“He knows the intensity required to play in these kinds of matches. We need him to guide the others. Some of them might eventually be more talented but he needs to be there like the father who leads his children into battle.”

Varane, who will be playing in his third World Cup, has struggled with injury setbacks since joining the Red Devils last summer.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.