Jose Mourinho’s first signing as Manchester United manager was none other than Eric Bailly. The Ivory Coast international made a stunning start to life as a Red Devil.
However, this season has been rather different for the centre-back. Injuries have hampered his playing time, and although he’s been back fit recently, Bailly has barely featured; including missing out on an FA Cup semi-final.
That led to question marks surrounding his future at the club, but the 24-year-old has addressed those rumours head-on, by admitting that he plans on ‘sticking around’ at Old Trafford.
“After my great first season here I did have a difficult spell with my second season injury and that lay off, but that’s just a part of football.” Bailly is quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.
“I would still say it has been a good season, with a lot of matches played and just a few left. I’ve enjoyed it, and I’m back now, playing again, feeling good and feeling happy.
“I’m planning to stick around and to keep improving here.”
The fact that he’s only made fourteen starts this season has to be a concern, but let’s hope this is the exception rather than the rule. It’s clear to me that Bailly wants to stay, and he doesn’t feel like he’s being treated unfairly by the manager.
We need Bailly, and a fully-fit version at that. He’s a world-class defender who was absolutely crucial to our successes during Mourinho’s first season in charge, and no doubt he’ll have a crucial role to play next season.
With Chris Smalling’s form improving recently, that partnership certainly has future potential. Now, it’s all about Bailly getting a full pre-season under his belt and coming back strong next term. I get the feeling it’s going to be tough for him to play his way into Mourinho’s FA Cup final team, but I certainly wouldn’t bet against it…