Eric Bailly has sent a message to Manchester United fans following his return to the match-day squad on Sunday against Everton.
The Ivorian picked up a knee ligament injury during Man United’s 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in October, and it was thought that the 22-year-old would not appear in a red shirt until after the African Cup of Nations.
However, much to the delight of United fans, Bailly has returned quicker than expected, making the bench for his side’s 1-1 draw with Everton last weekend.
The 22-year-old took to Instagram to express his desire to impress in the following weeks, whilst also paying a heartfelt tribute to those impacted by the Chapecoense disaster last week.
United’s defensive record in Bailly’s absence has been surprisingly good: in nine games they’ve shipped just six goals, with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo forming an unlikely bond at the heart of defence.
That said, games against the likes of West Ham United, Arsenal and Everton revealed a level of insecurity at the back. Against West Ham, United conceded early on, almost as if they had not fully adjusted to the physical nature of the game. And against Arsenal and Everton, Jose Mourinho‘s side shipped late goals, giving away vital points.
What Bailly does is introduce a kind of ruthless, unyielding sense of power and urgency throughout. He is just as potent in the 90th minute as he is in the first, seemingly unable to drop in energy levels. And United fans will agree that such a presence will be vital in the coming weeks.