Why Erik ten hag has dropped Raphael Varane from right center-back role-view

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire of Manchester United look on during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on September 26, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Manchester United recently returned to winning ways against Fulham in the Premier League and Harry Maguire was one of the stand-out performers during the game.

The Englishman won 10 duels and made nine clearances. He was also good with his overall distribution and registered six successful long balls over the course of 90 minutes.

Maguire was out of contention at the beginning of the season, but he has managed to turn around his fortunes. Erik ten Hag was full of praise for him after the victory

Raphael Varane, on the other hand, has started on the bench in the last two games. Ten Hag hinted that the decision was tactical in the Manchester derby. He preferred Maguire at right centre-back

We saw something similar against the Cottagers last weekend. The manager persisted with the former club captain in the position. It was Jonny Evans, who partnered him.

The decision to bench Varane for the second game running was a surprise. Here are a few stats that show why Ten Hag has made the choice of benching the World Cup winner.

This season, Maguire and Varane have played 386 minutes and 331 minutes in the league respectively.

Varane has the better passing accuracy at 92.7% compared to Maguire’s 83.7%, but the latter has registered more successful passes (49) per game than the former Real Madrid man (37).

Maguire has also been superior when it comes to delivering long balls with 5.7 to Varane’s 0.9 per game.

On the defensive side, the Englishman has made more clearances (3.2) than the Frenchman (2.7) and has won three times more number of aerial duels in the top-flight campaign.

Varane only came on in stoppage time against Fulham on Saturday. It is left to be seen whether the Frenchman is reinstated into the starting line-up versus Copenhagen.

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