Eric Bailly accuses Man United of 'favouring English players'

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 pecking order under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick 
  • The Ivory Coast international joined French side Marseille on loan in summer 
  • He has now hit out at United continuing to pick Harry Maguire while struggling 

Eric Bailly has launched a sensational attack on Manchester United, accusing the club of ‘favouring English players’ rather than choosing teams on merit.

The 28-year-old made just four Premier League appearances for the Red Devils last season after falling down the pecking order under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

Bailly was so desperate to play last term he even took to social media to make a plea to start in the defeat at Arsenal in April.

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 international chose to move to Ligue 1 in the summer by joining Marseille on loan, with a £5million option to make the transfer away from Old Trafford permanent if the French outfit qualify for the Champions League.

Bailly is now preparing to face Tottenham in their opening Champions League game of the season, but has seemingly hit out at Harry Maguire, who played regularly despite struggling while he failed to get a look in.

The former Villarreal centre-back is hopeful, however, that what he perceives as favouritism based on nationality will end with Erik ten Hag now in charge at Old Trafford.  

‘The club should avoid favouring English players and give everyone a chance,’ Bailly said in quotes carried by The Times

‘[The club should] encourage competition in the dressing room, not just look out for some. I’ve always had the feeling that the national player was prioritised.

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

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

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

‘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 [Erik] Ten Hag has a lot of character and I hope he can change that dynamic.’

The Dutch manager chose to strengthen his central defence in the summer by signing Lisandro Martinez in a £55m deal.

And Bailly has revealed he held talks with Ten Hag at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, and decided to leave despite the 52-year-old’s desire to keep him because he wanted more regular playing time.

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

‘I met Erik Ten Hag in the dressing room at the end of last season when he went to sign his contract,’ Bailly added. 

‘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 – who joined United in 2016 – has played twice for Marseille this season but was on the bench for the 2-0 win at Auxerre at the weekend. 

He is not the first player to slam United this summer, with goalkeeper Dean Henderson blasting their actions towards him as ‘criminal’ in a bombshell interview.

Dean Henderson also blasted Man United’s actions as ‘criminal’ in a furious interview

Henderson – on loan at Nottingham Forest – said that United promised he would usurp David de Gea as No 1, but then made him a reserve and kept him on the bench leaving him furious.

He said: ‘To be quite honest with you, it’s probably been the toughest 12 months of my career. It’s been tough, it’s been hard and I’m so happy I’ve come out the other end of it now.

‘The conversation I had, coming out of the Euros squad (with England), was that you’re coming back here (to United) to be the No 1 goalkeeper. I got Covid, then unfortunately no-one followed through with anything they told me.

‘It’s frustrating as well, because I turned so many good loans down last summer for that reason and they wouldn’t let me go. To sit there and waste 12 months is criminal, really, at my age. I was fuming.’

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