Raphael Varane has been recalled to Manchester United’s starting lineup for their clash with Newcastle at St James’ Park.
The Red Devils haven’t been in Premier League action for 16 days after seeing games against Brentford and Brighton called off because of Covid-19 outbreaks, but Varane’s absence from the side dates back to the comprehensive 3-0 win over Tottenham at the end of October.
In fact, the Frenchman has made just six appearances in the league following his summer move from Real Madrid, and has instead been troubled by a groin injury and latterly a hamstring problem.
However, for the trip to struggling Newcastle, Varane is fit and available to start, where he’ll take his place in central defence alongside captain Harry Maguire.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick continues with attacking full-backs Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles, while there’s another start in central midfield for Scott McTominay – to the evident annoyance of a number of United fans on social media.
His usual midfield partner in crime, Fred, also starts, with Rangnick’s narrowing attacking midfielders coming in the form of Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood.
Cristiano Ronaldo leads the line for the Red Devils, alongside Marcus Rashford – who has kept his place in the starting XI ahead of the likes of Edinson Cavani, Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek.
United’s bench also features the forgotten Phil Jones, who has been absent from the first team picture for the best part of two years, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nemanja Matic and Anthony Elanga – who signed a new five-year deal at the club on Christmas Eve.
Victor Lindelof, meanwhile, misses out after Rangnick confirmed in his pre-match interview a positive Covid-19 result.