Manchester United duo Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo have been named in Ivory Coast’s squad for this summer’s Olympics.
Ivory Coast are in Group D alongside Brazil, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
When do the Olympics start?
The Olympic football competition starts on Wednesday 21 July.
If the Ivory Coast make it all the way to the final, the gold medal match will take place on Friday 6 August in Tokyo.
How will it impact United’s pre-season?
It would likely mean that the duo would miss most if not all of United’s pre-season preparations.
The report doesn’t say when the Ivory Coast will link up ahead of the tournament, but they’d probably want some time before the tournament to train together.
United’s first pre-season game is on Sunday 18 July, against Derby. At that stage, you’d expect Bailly and Amad to be away with their country.
Will United let Bailly and Amad play at the Olympics?
It’s a delicate balancing act. The players might have their heart set on representing their country on the global stage.
For a young player like Amad especially, it’s a great honour. The pair might be really keen to meet up.
At the same time, they may not be that keen to link up, disrupting their domestic seasons before they’ve even begun and not doing a proper pre-season.
So United might not have to put their foot down. Plenty depends on the attitude of the player.
For example, Mason Greenwood pulled out of England’s preliminary Euro 2020 squad because of injury.
But Marcus Rashford joined up and is playing through the pain, even though United’s medical staff said he’d be best off with a summer of rest.
So if the pair are really desperate to play, the chances are they will.
Bailly might have had a chance of starting the first game of the Premier League season against Leeds on Saturday 14 August, if Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof needed extra time to recover after the Euros.
Amad would probably have been on the bench for that one, but this would have been his first United pre-season and it could have been really handy for his development.
That means the potential disruption is less than ideal. United would also have a decision to make on how much rest to grant the pair after the tournament.
The Ivory Coast might not go that deep into it, and the players could well be back in plenty of time for the opening week of the season.
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