Neville Questions Whether Varane Is A “Great Centre Half” After Making Unflattering Comparison To Van Dijk And Terry

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville says that Manchester United defender Raphael Varane lacks the leadership skills to be a “great centre-half”.

Assessing the Frenchman’s time at Old Trafford, Neville said that the World Cup winner compares unfavourably to the likes of Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk and Chelsea legend John Terry when it comes to organising a back four:

“When I watch Varane, Varane actually defends his part of the pitch very well and he defends his box very well, he heads a lot of balls out. He’s quite dominant in the air. I think he is just that type of centre half, and maybe he was at Madrid when he was playing alongside Ramos, who will always do his own job really well but I don’t think he will ever impact those players around him.”

“That’s not a criticism by the way because to be fair I think there are many great centre-halves who do their own jobs really well, but don’t actually manage a back four. A great centre half who can manage a back four is your Van Dijk’s, your Terry’s, your great players of all times.”

It’s harsh criticism from Neville

When you consider that Varane has won the World Cup with France as well as FOUR Champions League titles with Real Madrid, he can’t be a bad defender.

However, Neville does have a point. Despite being so experienced, the 30-year-old has never really taken on a leadership role since his arrival at Old Trafford. After almost three years into his United career, you would hope he’d be more vocal on the pitch and in the dressing room.

Varane is set to leave United this summer

The centre-back‘s contract expires at the end of June and, while the Red Devils do have the option to extend his stay for another year, the clause is unlikely to be triggered.

With the club keen to lower their wage bill, and Varane refusing to compromise on his £340,000 a week salary, he looks poised to leave Manchester in the coming months.

David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.