Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Man Utd training on Tuesday after being dropped for Saturday's 1-1 draw at Chelsea; Erik ten Hag says Ronaldo is back in United's matchday squad for Thursday's Europa League game against Sheriff Tiraspol at Old Trafford; Raphael Varane out until World Cup
Wednesday 26 October 2022 19:50, UK
Erik ten Hag has confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Manchester United's squad for Thursday's Europa League game against Sheriff Tiraspol, but Raphael Varane has been ruled out until the World Cup.
Ronaldo took part in United training on Tuesday for the first time since being dropped for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The 37-year-old was punished by Ten Hag for refusing to be brought on as a late substitute in last week's 2-0 home win over Tottenham and for leaving Old Trafford early.
However, Ronaldo and Ten Hag have since been in constant dialogue and the United boss says the Portugal captain will be available to face Moldovan side Sheriff.
"Yes, Cristiano will be in the squad on Thursday," Ten Hag said at his pre-match press conference.
"I think we said everything and answered all the questions. He was out for one game and now he is back in the squad as usual.
"It's done. He's back. Let's focus on the game."
However, Ten Hag also revealed Varane will be out for the foreseeable future after suffering a reported knee injury against Chelsea at the weekend.
The United defender departed that game early and in tears after stretching awkwardly while attempting to challenge Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Ten Hag revealed the France international will not feature for United before the World Cup - which begins on November 20 - but thinks he can still compete in the tournament.
"Raphael Varane isn't in the squad," Ten Hag said. "He will be out, certainly, until the World Cup.
"He will not play in this block for Manchester United. I think he can play in the World Cup, but we have to see how it develops and how his rehab develops."
October 27: Sheriff Tiraspol (H) - kick-off 8pm
October 30: West Ham (H) - kick-off 4.15pm, live on Sky Sports
November 3: Real Sociedad (A) - kick-off 5.45pm
November 6: Aston Villa (A) - kick-off 2pm
November 10: Aston Villa (H) - kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
November 13: Fulham (A) - kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
In addition to Ronaldo's return, captain Harry Maguire, midfielder Donny van de Beek and right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka are also back in United's squad. Forward Anthony Martial remains on the sidelines.
Ten Hag added: "Harry, Donny and Aaron are all in training and preparing for Thursday's game.
"After training [on Wednesday] I will make a decision."
Maguire, who has been out with a muscle problem, started the first two matches of Ten Hag's reign but poor form and subsequent enforced absence have seen him feature just three further times for United.
That has provided a headache for both the Dutchman and England boss Gareth Southgate, who names his World Cup squad in a fortnight's time.
"He always will play an important role," Ten Hag said of Maguire. "He was injured.
"I'm happy he is on the way back so now he has to get back into games.
"I understand the interest (about his game time in England) but we especially look at Manchester United.
"We have to get the right results and performances, so that is the main objective I have."
A point against Sheriff at Old Trafford would be enough for United to qualify for the knockout stage of the Europa League.
However, United will be keen on a victory to keep the pressure on Group E leaders Real Sociedad ahead of the final matchday on November 3. That's because if they finish second, they will compete in a play-off round against a third-placed Champions League side.
After Thursday's match against Sheriff Tiraspol, Manchester United return to Premier League action on Super Sunday when they welcome West Ham to Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports; (kick-off 4.15pm).
United's final fixture in the Europa League group stage sees them travel to Real Sociedad on November 3 (kick-off 5.45pm).