Former Manchester United defender Gary Pallister has noted that Eric Bailly’s aggressive style mirrors that of Nemanja Vidic.
The Ivorian, who became Jose Mourinho’s first signing at Old Trafford back in June 2016, enjoyed a commanding debut campaign at Old Trafford, making 38 appearances in total.
And he has been an imperious force at the back alongside Phil Jones so far this season, claiming five clean sheets in seven appearances.
Speaking earlier this week, Pallister was quick to note that Bailly’s rambunctious style style was reminiscent of the former Man United captain.
“He has been one of our best players at the start of this season, it is terrific to he him recapture his form from when he came to Old Trafford. Bailly loves to defend and maybe even a mould of Vidic or a Steve Bruce, he is aggressive.
“He loves to defend and if I was a centre-half then I would love to play with a guy like him so I think defensively we have been pretty sound, we are scoring goals quite freely but we have not had a massive test, we expected more from Everton.”
There was a time when Bailly’s way of playing was the norm. But football, like all walks of life, has evolved and, as such, demands for its participants to evolve with it, precipitating the emergence of a new kind of centre-back – the John Stones mould – that will, one day, make the Ivorian’s style the exception to the rule.
But you would be misled to think that Bailly is merely a boisterous, physically aggressive defender. There is an art to bulldozing – rather than outfoxing – opponents. You have to time everything carefully, position yourself astutely, and most of all sustain it over 90 minutes and, by extension, for a nine month period.
And you sense United’s title hopes partly hinge on whether or not the 24-year-old can do just that.