Raphael Varane ‘like a rabbit in the headlights’ after joining Manchester United, claims Rio Ferdinand

The World Cup winner struggled during his first season at the club but Ferdinard believes he was not give the platform to produce his best form

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Manchester United defender Raphael Varane looked like a “rabbit in the headlights” during his first season at Old Trafford, according to Rio Ferdinand.

The France international and World Cup winner moved to United from Real Madrid for a fee of £35 million but could not help to improve the team’s defence in what was the club’s worst ever Premier League campaign.

Varane’s season was also hit by injuries but former United defender Ferdinand believes the 29-year-old was not given the platform to produce his best form given the club’s struggles last season and after several years of playing at Real, where he won four Champions League titles.

Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube show: “He went from one team - the honours there tell you it was a functioning team at the top level, all players playing to their maximum consistently - and went into an absolute reverse situation where the team has zero functionality, no confidence, no guidance and no structure of where they’re going.

“He went into an alien scenario where he’s going, ‘I have not seen this since youth team football’.

“To go from that world-class operating and culture and standard on a daily basis to what is at Manchester United is a huge, huge shift.

“He’s probably sitting there like a rabbit in the headlights thinking, ‘Wow, what is this?’”

Ferdinand added that he expects Varane to improve next season under incoming United manager Erik ten Hag.

“He hasn’t been the player we expected... he would tell you that, he couldn’t tell you anything else. He’ll be saying, ‘I’ve got to up the levels next year. I need help.’”

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