Raphael Varane trains with Manchester United stars ahead of debut - in pictures

French defender in contention for trip to Southampton

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has welcomed new recruit Raphael Varane's willingness to learn ahead of his Premier League debut.

French defender Varane, a $56 million buy from Real Madrid, has been training alongside Jadon Sancho, Fred, Bruno Fernandes and the other Manchester United stars in preparation for the trip to Southampton on Sunday, and Solskjaer has been impressed with his attitude.

“He's been humble, inquisitive,” said Solskjaer. “He asks questions, he doesn't want to learn by a mistake in the game but on the training field before he goes on the pitch. Everything about him has been impressive.”

Solskjaer also said Jesse Lingard has a “big part to play” at United as speculation about his future persists.

After managing just three appearances for the Red Devils in the first half of last season, the 28-year-old joined West Ham on loan in January.

The switch went well as Lingard scored nine goals in 16 appearances, earning an England recall in the process and just missing out on the Euro 2020 squad.

“I think Jesse’s first priority is to get into our team,” Solskjaer said when asked about the impact of Lingard’s playing time on his England hopes.

“I think whenever your employer is Man United, I think that’s your first priority. It always is and I think together we can have great moments.

“Of course, as a manager, with players and a squad like I’ve got now it’s difficult. It’s difficult to say that ‘this weekend you’re not playing’ because I’ve got to leave players out – never mind from the starting 11, even from the squad.

“But they’ll all have to remember and know that they’re going to have to play a part if we’re going to be successful.

“Jesse’s back to his fitness, he played really well in the behind-closed-doors game on Tuesday.

“He’s come back bubbly and in good shape, so he’s got a big part to play.”

Updated: August 21st 2021, 9:17 AM