Erik ten Hag told he has the perfect ‘leader’ waiting for him in the Manchester United defence


Former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre is backing Raphael Varane to be the “leader” of United’s defence under Erik ten Hag next season.

Varane, who will be looking to help France retain their World Cup crown later this year, joined United in a big-money deal from Spanish giants Real Madrid last summer, as the Old Trafford outfit looked to beef up their central-defensive options. He was signed to become the world-class partner that Harry Maguire had been looking for.

However, as a result of United’s collective failures this season and frequent injury issues, Varane has struggled to lay down a marker. He has made just 19 appearances in the Premier League this season and 26 in all competitions, highlighting how often he has been unavailable.

Nevertheless, despite the issues he has encountered this season, the Frenchman will be hoping to live up to expectations next season, as United enter a new dawn under Ten Hag. And for former centre-back Silvestre, Varane has a big role to play for the club moving forward.

Asked if he was worried about Varane’s future at the club, Silvestre told Genting Casino : “No, not at all. He has what it takes to be the leader of the United defence.

“Individually, he is more than capable of stepping up and being one of the top defenders next season under the new manager.”

United have looked far more accomplished defensively this season when Varane has played, even though he experienced a difficult day at the office during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. For Silvestre, though, recent circumstances failed to help his fellow countryman against the Gunners.

“I think this season has been difficult for him, but he has also missed a lot of games due to injury,” Silvestre added. “Whenever he has had a run of games in the team, we have seen the Varane that played so well for Real Madrid.

“The Arsenal match was his first game after a long absence and he didn’t have the luck or the composure in his performance – it was a shaky start for the entire defence after conceding another early goal, and away from home that makes getting a positive result even more difficult – he wasn’t at his best, but there are circumstances that contributed to that.”