France coach hands Varane Qatar World Cup blow

Manchester United and France centre-back Raphael Varane has been dealt a blow in his hopes of making Les Bleus’ World Cup squad by Didier Deschamps, who has insisted that he will only select players who are 100 per cent fit from the get-go.

The former Real Madrid man was a key member of the World Cup-winning team from 2018 and was expected to earn a call-up for the upcoming tournament in Qatar.

However, Varane left the field in tears against Chelsea after sustaining a thigh injury, which has threatened his participation at the upcoming World Cup.

Erik ten Hag has already confirmed that Varane will not play for Man United again before the World Cup, and there have been suggestions that the 29-year-old could miss Les Bleus’ opening game against Australia in Group D.

When asked about the possibility of bringing Varane for France’s final two group games and any potential knockout matches, Deschamps responded that he would only consider selecting players who are able to contribute from the opening match.

“It’s clear and clean. That I said. I’ve never embarked with an injured player for a big competition,” Deschamps recently told the press.

“The only thing that is certain is that I will not take a player who is not able to play at the start of the competition. Then it’s on a case-by-case basis.

“But leaving on a big competition with players who are not suitable, already it occupies too much attention, and for those who have to play, it also monopolises the medical staff. Me, I consider that we must leave with valid and capable players.”

Nevertheless, Deschamps has left the door open for the Manchester United man to make the squad, adding: “For Raphael [Varane], it is less problematic in this aspect, because it is a muscle injury.”

Prior to his injury, Varane had formed an effective partnership with Lisandro Martinez in the Red Devils’ defence, and he has made 11 appearances for the club in all tournaments this term.

France have been battling poor form and a plethora of injuries in their bid to defend their World Cup title, with the likes of Theo Hernandez, Lucas Hernandez, IbrahimaKonate, PresnelKimpembe and Lucas Digne all missing their latest round of fixtures.

N’GoloKante has already been ruled out until 2023 after undergoing thigh surgery, while Paul Pogba’s hopes of making the squad are also hanging in the balance.

Up top, Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema has struggled to stay fit this term and is currently battling a muscular problem, but there is currently no indication that he will not be fit for the World Cup.

After kicking off their World Cup campaign against Australia on November 22, France will continue the defence of their crown against Denmark four days later before meeting Tunisia on November 30. – SportsMole

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