Manchester United will welcome Eric Bailly back to the squad to face Burnley on Thursday night, report The Telegraph.

Bailly was set to join up with Ivory Coast ahead of the African Cup of Nations, which kicks off on January 9.

Now with Victor Lindelof testing positive for Covid and missing the Newcastle game and forthcoming Burnley match, Bailly is being called upon as an emergency stand in.

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys: Group F - UEFA Champions League
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Bailly is only expected to be available for this one upcoming game, before returning to the Ivory Coast squad for international duty.


The Mail report Bailly received a call at the airport just before he was due to get on a 5,000 km flight to Ivory Coast. It is a little surprising Ivory Coast have agreed to release him, and that United did not seek to delay his departure in the first place.

Saves United a Jones repeat

United have Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane as possible starters for the Burnley game, but there may be an intention to rest the Frenchman.

Varane is returning from six weeks out injured, and expecting him to start two matches in four days could be asking for trouble.

Bailly, who has had his fair share of fitness problems in his career himself, could partner Maguire, which spares us seeing Phil Jones come in as a starter.

With Lindelof out, Jones would have been next in line to partner Maguire if Varane was not ready to start and Bailly had not postponed his international involvement.

Seeing Jones in the line-up would have been worrying omen for United, alone on the basis that he has not started a league game for two years.

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It would set alarm bells ringing further that his last league appearance was against Burnley at Old Trafford, a game United lost 2-0.

Nobody wants a repeat of that miserable night in which fans left the stadium early, and Bailly putting in the air miles to help avoid a defensive crisis is appreciated.

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