Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says Raphael Varane’s recent omission from the starting XI is down to tactical reasons.
Last season, the Frenchman starred alongside Lisandro Martinez at the heart of the United defence.
However, the 30-year-old’s recent lack of starts has raised questions over his position in the defensive pecking order at Old Trafford.
Speaking ahead of their home clash against Luton Town, he insisted he has no issue with the centre-back: “Absolutely not.
“As I said, it is about tactical reasons why I chose these partnerships. I think Harry [Maguire] and Jonny [Evans] did well.
READ MORE ON MANCHESTER UNITED
“Last year Harry didn’t play a lot, so I was very happy with Rapha’s performances. I have always been happy with his performance.
“But in this moment, Harry is playing very well and there is internal competition.”
During United’s 4-3 Champions League defeat to FC Copenhagen, Varane was brought on for the injured Evans in the first-half.
Ten Hag has suggested that he and Maguire are not the best pairing at the club though despite their combined experience: “There are moments in certain games where they can play together and they have already proven they can do it.
“But the build-up is not that fluid when one of them is playing from the left centre-back position because I think Licha [Lisandro Martinez], obviously, Luke Shaw, obviously, Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof, they are right-footed.
“But they can play really comfortably with their left and make the right angles, then you can construct a better formation where you can start to play.”
Varane has started in just eight of United’s 17 matches across all competitions so far this season.
With Evans unavailable for the visit of Luton, he will be hoping to be named in the starting XI and help United regain some form as they sit 8th in the Premier League table.