Bailly deserves to usurp Jones as Solskjaer's first-choice partner for Lindelof

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has wasted no time in putting his stamp on the Manchester United side he inherited from Jose Mourinho.
Largely, there has been an emphasis on pace and energy, which has facilitated the flowing football the Reds have treated their fans to under the Norwegian.
Many of Solskjaer’s selections have been common-sense and consequently popular with the fans, but he has remained a little bit more cautious with his defensive selections.

(Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)

Diogo Dalot would be a more adventurous and long-term selection at right-back, but Solskjaer has preferred Ashley Young’s steadiness and experience.
And just inside him, Phil Jones has largely been preferred to Eric Bailly. Solskjaer has reinvigorated many players who went stale under Jose Mourinho, but has not elected to put the Ivorian centre-stage to offer him a similar opportunity.
While the selection of Young is more understandable, given his consistency and the youth of Dalot, there is no obvious justification for selecting Jones over Bailly.

(Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)

Bailly – who arrived at United for a reported £30m in 2016 – is younger, quicker and has greater potential than Jones and keeping him in reserve is the opposite of what Solskjaer has done with the attack.
He and Victor Lindelof represent United’s best chance of a long-term central defensive dynasty, and while the Swede has been the best outfield player on show at Old Trafford all season, he would be even better with Bailly alongside him.

Bailly’s speed on the cover would allow Lindelof to be even more aggressive in the challenge, as well as easing his nerves that the error-prone Jones will revert to type at any moment.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.