When it was first reported that Victor Lindelof was starting against Luton Town instead of Raphael Varane, it certainly raised some eyebrows.
Not that Lindelof didn’t play well – his goal proved to be the difference between the two sides.
However, Varane is an acclaimed world-class defender.
This is a player who has played crucial roles for the likes of Real Madrid, winning three UEFA Champions League titles, as well as France, with whom he has won the FIFA World Cup.
Since the Manchester derby defeat, Varane has seemingly lost favour with manager Erik ten Hag with the likes of Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans and now Victor Lindelof all seemingly higher up the pecking order than the French international.
All the above is on the backdrop of rumours online that Varane and ten Hag have had a falling out, with Varane’s omission from the first team not helping to quell the murmuring.
The Athletic have now provided some detail on how the French international has responded to being dropped from the starting lineup.
According to the publication, people close to the French international (who told the publication that they did not want to be named to protect relationships) say he has accepted the decision of the manager is a tactical one and highlight that there is always a way back for a player under the coach, as proven by the re-emergence of former captain Maguire into the first team.
In fairness, Varane has always had a reputation of being a team player and it’s not a surprise that he’s accepted his role and is happy to keep plugging away.
With all the egos in the dressing rooms at the Stade de France, Bernabeu and Old Trafford, nobody has ever questioned or brought into doubt the professionalism of Raphael Varane.
But fans will be concerned if a player of Varane’s calibre continues to be used as fourth choice centre-back.
With Saudi clubs keeping an eye on how things evolve, fans will be hoping that Varane is able to make his way back into the first team sooner rather than later.
And if results and performances don’t improve soon, Erik ten Hag may be fielding more questions on this decision then he has been so far.