Olympique Marseille defender Eric Bailly has criticized Manchester United for favoring English players compared to other big Premier League clubs.
The Ivorian has joined Marseille from United on a season-long loan with an option to buy for £5 million if the Ligue 1 side qualifies for the Champions League.
It has been a difficult past few seasons for Bailly at Old Trafford who had found game time hard to come by.
He was displaced by Harry Maguire in United’s starting XI under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in 2019 and failed to regain his place in the team.
Bailly made just seven appearances in all competitions last season, falling way down the pecking order.
He has now taken aim at United and their predominant use of English players, saying (via UtdDistrict):
“The club [Manchester United] should avoid favoring English players and give everyone a chance. The club should encourage competition in the dressing room. I always had the impression that the English player was favoured.”
The Ivorian then compared the Red Devils to other big Premier League clubs’ selection process whilst hoping that current manager Erik ten Hag changes the process:
“That’s not the case at Chelsea or other big Premier League clubs. Some take it for granted that they’re going to start, and that weakens the team. Fortunately, [Erik] ten Hag has a lot of character and I hope he can change that.”
Manchester United manager Ten Hag has already laid down a marker
Ten Hag has already made big decisions at the start of the season that will enthuse Bailly.
Not that the Ivorian can expect to return to Ten Hag’s side since the Dutch tactician is currently having huge success with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
However, Ten Hag has dropped Maguire despite the English centre-back being the club captain.
The former Ajax coach commented on doing so (via ESPN):
“It doesn’t mean when you are captain you are established to play always, especially when you also have Varane in your squad.”
It will be intriguing to see how Ten Hag goes about handling Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho following the arrival of Antony from Ajax for £85.5 million.
The Brazilian is looking a certainty to start on the right wing, which will perhaps leave Rashford and Sancho vying for the left-wing role.
Bailly’s comments hold merit though given last season’s poor performances and the lack of risk taken by Solskjaer and former interim manager Ralf Rangnick.