Second part of the pre-match press conference Erik ten Hag v Southampton Transcript 26 August 2022

Can I just ask what was your reasoning behind choosing [Raphael] Varane Monday, which is excellent of course? We know he’s a great player from what he’s done in the past but you didn’t choose him to start the season and if it was also a difficult situation when you have to leave your captain, after having [Harry] Captain Maguire?
“First we have options and like you already said Varane, his stature is huge. In pre-season we had to develop his physique so it was a bit of a slower start, and he was fit in the first few games but in the first half of pre-season he wasn’t always so we’re happy that we built him up that way. You see that when the team needed of him, he was really there and his profile, his stature, what he has won in the past shows that he can really contribute to this team. For the team, there is competition, and you you need it, we have to cover so many games and we can do that in several constructions, see from game to game what we need It can be a construction of Liverpool, but also in the second half in Brentford, we played with Varane and Maguire in the middle so there are plenty of options I forget the injuries now, Victor Lindelof has done very well done in pre-season so I’m glad he’s back in the squad on Sunday so we’ll have another option. Internally we have competition and that’s good and I think the top teams need that.

It’s a tricky situation when the captain is not playing, you would expect the captain to play most games. So this is obviously going to be a matter of debate and a very difficult decision for you…

“It doesn’t mean that when you’re captain you’re set to always play, especially not when you have Varane in your squad as well.”

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