Eric Bailly revealed why Chelsea, Arsenal and other premier league clubs are better than Manchester United
Eric Bailly has claimed that Manchester United have favoured the selection of English players in the starting line-up during his time at the club.
The Ivorian centre-back joined Olympique de Marseille on loan this summer and, although he may return to Old Trafford at the end of the season, he launched a remarkable tirade against the club for a selection policy that he said prioritised England internationals.
Bailly was frustrated by the lack of opportunities under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last season, starting just three Premier League games, while in-form captain Harry Maguire started 28 times in the league.
He has become an even more peripheral figure under Rangnick than he had been under Solskjaer and is understandably frustrated that Maguire’s £80m signing was picked before him.
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He has now joined Marseille on loan for this season, a deal that will become permanent for £5.9m if he plays a number of games and the club qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Bailly returns to English shores on Tuesday with Olympique de Marseille as they begin their Champions League campaign against Tottenham, and before the game he expressed his displeasure with his parent club’s selection policy.
“The club should avoid favouring English players and give everyone a chance. [The club should encourage competition in the dressing room and not just protect a few. I always felt the priority was given to the local player,” Bailly told The Times.
“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. Fortunately, [Erik] Ten Hag has a lot of character and I hope he can change that dynamic.”
Bailly signed a new contract at Old Trafford in April 2021, but less than a month later he was publicly demanding to play more games or he would look to leave.
He appeared under Erik ten Hag in pre-season this summer, but with Lisandro Martinez arriving from Ajax for £56m and Maguire, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof also at the club, he felt he had to leave to play more regularly.
“I met Erik Ten Hag in the dressing room at the end of last season when he went to sign his contract,” said Bailly, “I was packing my bags because my intention was to leave, but he told me he wanted me to stay because he was going to give everyone minutes.
“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 my confidence back.