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When will Martinez & Varane be back for Man Utd? Ten Hag on Premier League situation World Cup stars must ‘accept’

17:18 EAT 23/12/2022
Lisandro Martinez Raphael Varane Manchester United 2022-23
Erik ten Hag hopes Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane will “accept” that they are required back at Manchester United after World Cup duty.
  • Defensive duo graced Qatar 2022 final
  • Yet to rejoin Red Devils squad
  • Coach wants them to face Forest

WHAT HAPPENED? The two international centre-halves figured for their respective nations in the Qatar 2022 final, with Argentina edging out defending champions France on penalties at the end of an epic contest that finished 3-3 after 120 enthralling minutes. Varane is licking his wounds after seeing another World Cup crown slip through his grasp, while Martinez is among those enjoying wild celebrations in South America that have stretched across several days.

WHAT THEY SAID: It remains to be seen when either will be available for United again, having already missed a Carabao Cup fourth round clash with Burnley, but Ten Hag is eager to see both come in to contention for a Premier League home date with Nottingham Forest on December 27. When asked when the duo could return, he said: “I don’t know. I couldn’t answer. He’s [Martinez] still celebrating in Argentina. I can understand that it’s very emotional. Winning the World Cup for your country is the highest you can be. But also Martinez has to accept that on the 27th the Premier League comes back [for United]. Varane, of course, is disappointed but can also be proud of being in the final and all that he has achieved in his career already is massive - to win so many trophies. He can still be proud. Getting to the final is a massive achievement. His nation were so close.

“We have a plan [for all players]. It’s all individual based. No one is the same or has the same programme or minutes. It depends on their positions and the age of the players. We all know the restart was five or six days after the World Cup final. Everyone has to be ready and accept it. The manager and coaching staff of course, but also the players – they have to accept it. They want trophies. We spoke about the tough competition and we have to be ready for it and deal with it, do it smart and hopefully get the right performance and results.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Varane had been nursing an injury prior to the World Cup finals, ruling him out of domestic action since October 22, while Martinez has been an ever-present in the Premier League starting XI this season and will want to see that run continue.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? United - who are into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, third round of the FA Cup and knockout play-off stage of the Europa League – sit fifth in the Premier League table ahead of top-flight action in England resuming after Christmas.