Raphael Varane injury: Manchester United defender out until after World Cup, says Erik ten Hag

Varane out for next three weeks but could still travel to Qatar with France

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Wednesday 26 October 2022 18:26 BST
Manchester United defender Raphael Varane
Manchester United defender Raphael Varane (Getty Images)

Raphael Varane will not play for Manchester United again before the World Cup after limping off in tears during the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last weekend, opening a path for the return of Harry Maguire.

Varane looked distraught as he left the pitch during the second half at Stamford Bridge and will not recover in time to play in United's Europa League meeting with Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday evening.

Erik ten Hag confirmed at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday that the 29-year-old defender will not be available until after the mid-season break but did not rule out Varane being available for France at the World Cup.

“Rapha Varane isn't in the squad. He will be out certainly until the World Cup, so he will not play in this block for Man United,” he said.

When asked if Varane could still return in time to play at the tournament in Qatar, he said: "I think so but the prognosis, we have to wait and see how it develops, how his rehab develops.”

With Varane out of contention, Ten Hag could consider recalling club captain Maguire, who returned to training this week after suffering a thigh injury while on international duty with England.

Maguire was joined in full training by fellow absentees Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with Ten Hag set to make a decision on their availability ahead of the visit from Sheriff.

“They are in training, Harry, Donny, Aaron, in team training in preparation for tomorrow's game. After the training, together with medical, I will take the decision.

“[Maguire] always has an important role," Ten Hag added. "He was injured, happy in his own way back and now he has to get back into games.”

Maguire lost his automatic starting status under Ten Hag before being injured in England’s Nations League draw with Germany last month and his lack of playing time could affect his chances of starting for Gareth Southgate’s side in Qatar.

Ten Hag expressed sympathy with Maguire’s struggles in recent months but stressed that United’s form has to take priority.

“I understand the interest but we especially look at Manchester United. We have to get the right results and performances, that's the main objective I have to look at.”

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training with United’s first team squad on Tuesday and will be part of the squad to face Sheriff, Ten Hag confirmed, but Anthony Martial remains sidelined with a back injury.

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