Manchester United players praise Eric Bailly’s impressive start in England

by Leo Nieboer

Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Luke Shaw have all lauded Eric Bailly‘s magnificent start to his Manchester United career.

The 22-year-old was Jose Mourinho‘s first acquisition as Man United manager, joining from Villarreal for £30m, and has instantly adapted to the Premier League’s notoriously physical nature.

Mourinho admitted that he was “surprised” with how well the 22-year-old – who received Man of the Match awards in his first two games – has embraced English football.

Speaking after United’s 2-0 win over Southampton, Herrera expressed his admiration for the Ivorian.

“I think Eric has a lot of talent,” Herrera told MUTV.

“He’s a beast, he’s so, so strong, he’s quick and he’s a very smart player. He doesn’t take risks, so that’s important for us because we know when we have the ball, or when he has the ball, he is not going to put the team under trouble.

“When the opponent has the ball we have a very quick player, we can press up because the space is going to be covered by him. He’s very good in the air, very energetic, with every ball in-between he goes like crazy so he wins a lot of balls. He did it well against Jamie Vardy and that’s not so easy because he was one of the best players last season and he felt very good, he won almost every duel.

“We are very happy with him. This season is so long, we have to keep our feet on the floor and Eric is going to be important but he’s still so young and he has to improve a lot.”

Carrick also registered his approval for Bailly’s old-school style.

“Eric seems to really enjoy defending,” he said.

“Nowadays, it’s not as common as it used to be – I think defenders in general, around the league, have been concentrating more on playing with the ball. Eric is a true defender. He played really well at Wembley and I am sure he is going to get better and better.”

Shaw, who has started alongside Bailly for the first three games of the season, has been hugely impressed with the 22-year-old’s contribution so far.

“He’s what we need,” he added.

“He’s so composed on the ball and at the right times he knows when to clear it or when to play out from the back.

“Defensively he’s been solid, no-one’s got around him and I’m so happy that we have him here. He’s such a good player and from the last few games he’s a very important player for us now as well.”

In his first three games, Bailly hasn’t shown the faintest inkling of discomfort as a United player. Nobody has found their way in behind him, nor has anyone managed to match his overwhelming barbarism and strength. Alongside Daley Blind, the Ivorian has already sent shockwaves across the Premier League, and at just 22-years-old, the best is yet to come.

Bigger challenges lie ahead, of course, but the early signs suggest that Bailly could make a serious impact at Old Trafford.

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