Eric Bailly accuses Man United of ‘favoring English players’ rather than picking teams on ability

Eric Bailly accuses Man United of unfairly ‘favouring English players’ rather than picking teams based on ability in a clear jibe at captain Harry Maguire, as he burns his parent-club bridges on loan at Marseille

  • Eric Bailly made just four Premier League appearances for Man United last term
  • He had fallen down the pecking order under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick
  • The Ivory Coast international joined French side Marseille on loan in the summer
  • He has now hit out at United continuing to pick Harry Maguire while struggling

Eric Bailly has accused Manchester United of a selection policy biased towards English players during his time at Old Trafford.

Bailly has taken a swipe, clearly with Harry Maguire among those he thinks were indulged, after joining Marseille on loan for the season and backed Erik ten Hag to solve the problem.

‘The club should avoid favoring English players and give everyone a chance,’ said the Ivory Coast center half, who joined United for £30 million from Villarreal in 2016.

Eric Bailly has accused Man United of 'favouring English players' rather than choosing teams on merit

Eric Bailly has accused Man United of ‘favouring English players’ rather than choosing teams on merit

The Ivory Coast defender's comments are a clear jibe at United centre-back Harry Maguire

The Ivory Coast defender’s comments are a clear jibe at United centre-back Harry Maguire

‘Encourage competition in the dressing room, not just look out for some. I always had the feeling that the national player was prioritized. That doesn’t happen at Chelsea or other big Premier League clubs.

‘Some people take it for granted that they are going to start, and that weakens the team. Luckily, Ten Hag has a lot of character and I hope he can change that dynamic.’

Bailly was beset by injury problems during his six years at United and slipped out of favor once Maguire was signed in 2019, for £80 million from Leicester.

Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw were among other English players to feature regularly during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s three years in charge.

Bailly recently made a comment under a comment on a Manchester United Instagram post

Bailly recently made a comment under a comment on a Manchester United Instagram post

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in the first half of last season

Ralf Rangnick came in as interim boss

Bailly fell down the pecking order under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) and Ralf Rangnick (R)

Bailly chose to move to Marseille on loan with an option to buy in the summer transfer window

He chose to move to Marseille on loan with an option to buy in the summer transfer window

Across the last three seasons, however, Bailly has made only 20 Premier League appearances. He has two years remaining on his United contract but left for Marseille despite encouragement from ten Hag.

‘I met Erik ten Hag in the dressing room at the end of last season,’ Bailly told the Times. ‘I was packing my things because my intention was to leave, but he told me he wanted me to stay because he was going to give minutes to everyone.

I agreed to do the summer tour with United, and he kept his word, but I don’t want to play every now and then. I want to do it every week and feel important. I want to get my confidence back.’

Bailly is one of a dozen former Premier League players in the ranks of Marseille, runners-up in France last season, who have won five and drawn one of their six games in this campaign under new boss Igor Tudor.

Bailly is hopeful the 'dynamic' will change under Erik ten Hag now in charge at Old Trafford

Bailly is hopeful the ‘dynamic’ will change under Erik ten Hag now in charge at Old Trafford

Alexis Sanchez is banned and cannot play at Tottenham tomorrow after a red card playing for Inter Milan at Liverpool last season, but former West Ham hero-turned-villain Dimitri Payet is back from injury.

‘It was a personal choice, a family choice,’ said 35-year-old Payet, when asked about his acrimonious split with the Hammers in 2017. ‘I have stayed at Marseille so it’s not like I have moved around.

‘The Premier League helped me realize a dream. Everyone dreams about playing here. I spent 18 months full of emotions but I have no regrets.

‘It was a pretty brutal break, that’s true, but I hope over the years West Ham fans come to understand.’

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