Eric Bailly confirms he is now injury free

Eric Bailly is yet to make a Manchester United appearance in 2022.

His last United outing came in the final match of 2021, the 3-1 home win over Burnley.

He only played then because he delayed his departure to go to the Africa Cup of Nations, and of course his participation in that tournament is a major factor in why it has been almost two months since his last club game.

Bailly came back from the AFCON with an injury but in an interview with club media, the defender confirmed he is completely recovered now.

Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images

“After coming back from AFCON I have no pain [in my ankle] anymore, so all is good. I had some problems in a group-stage game against Sierra Leone with the head injury but afterwards it was not too bad. 

“I was okay to play against Egypt and I tried to play a good game, we were just unlucky to lose on penalties. The ambition firstly is to win as many games as we can and to secure that top-four spot in the league.

“For a club like Manchester United, it is always important to be in the Champions League. We are a big team and it is important for us to finish in the top four this season.

“Everybody remembers that Watford won against us and that gives us a good motive to try and improve. We do not have an easy game in this league. Against Watford, if we do what we do in training we can win this game for sure.

“The most important thing is to focus and to win the game. To keep winning is very important. In March, we have many games and lots of important ones.”

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

We have written previously about the potential in a partnership between Bailly and Raphael Varane.

They are both pacey and Varane would be a good player to talk Bailly through matches and help him avoid lapses in concentration.

Dropping Harry Maguire would be a big call but the captain was sent off in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and struggled with the pace of the Hornets frontline.

Bailly has also got to get past Victor Lindelof in the pecking order, who played at right-back in the Champions League in midweek.

It is good news that he is back fit, and the key is staying injury free between now and the end of the season.

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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.