'Regretful' Dean Henderson and Eric Bailly both knew exactly what they were getting into

Manchester United’s problems on the pitch are not being helped by the dissatisfaction of players who are not getting the game time they feel they deserve.

The Mail notes both Eric Bailly and Dean Henderson regret signing new contracts due to the lack of game time they have received this season.

Bailly has started only two Premier League games while Henderson’s only starts have come in cup competitions.

It’s totally understandable for players to be unhappy not to be playing. Both Henderson and Bailly are international level players who want more.

And yet its also hard to have too much sympathy for the duo. Both players knew exactly what they were getting into when they signed new contracts.

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Henderson’s mountain to climb

Dean Henderson signed his new contract in 2020 and set himself a target of displacing David de Gea as Manchester United’s number one, a feat which World Cup finalist Sergio Romero could not manage.

Henderson got close, very close, earning a run in the team last season and performing well, arguably better than De Gea did.

But the ambitious goalkeeper was playing with fire, whether he knew it or not. De Gea has risen out of his slump and has rediscovered the form which saw him win the club’s player of the year award four times.

De Gea has been United’s best player this campaign to date, leaving Henderson back at square one and having to climb the mountain all over again.

Even with Henderson’s lofty aim of being number one, he was always going to have to deal with De Gea, due to the fact the Spaniard was almost unsellable due to his super-high wages.

United would have struggled to even find a loan for De Gea without subsidising his salary. So Henderson would always have had to compete with De Gea, who was always capable of stepping up in form.

Bailly knew back-up risk

Eric Bailly signed his new deal earlier in 2021 and has only himself to blame if he is still unhappy as a back-up centre-back.

Bailly was a back-up when he signed his new contract, and knew that further competition would be coming into the club in the summer.

United signed Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, who pushed Bailly down from third choice to fourth choice in the pecking order.

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There is a case to be made that Bailly might be Varane’s best partner and deserves a run alongside the Frenchman to prove it.

But with Harry Maguire the club captain and Victor Lindelof also competing for a place, Bailly faces a tall order to establish himself as a regular in the team.

Bailly knew this risk when he signed a new contract, and while disappointing, this situation was the most likely outcome for him.

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