Eric Bailly accuses Manchester United of ‘favouring English players’ rather than picking teams based on ability

Eric Bailly has taken a stunning swipe at Manchester United, accusing the Premier League club of ‘favouring English players’ rather than choosing teams on merit and performance, Newspremises reports.

The Ivory Coast international made just four Premier League appearances for the Red Devils last season after falling down the pecking order under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

At one point, Bailly took to social media to make a plea to start in the defeat at Arsenal in April.

The 28-year-old joined Ligue 1 in the summer moving to Marseille on loan, with a £5 million option to make the transfer away from Old Trafford permanent if the French outfit qualifies for the Champions League.

Bailly, who is preparing to face Tottenham in their opening Champions League game of the season, has seemingly hit out at Harry Maguire, who played regularly ahead of him despite struggling in several games.

‘The club should avoid favouring English players and give everyone a chance,’ Bailly said in quotes carried by The Times.

‘[The club should] encourage competition in the dressing room, not just look out for some. I’ve always had the feeling that the national player was prioritised.

‘That doesn’t happen at Chelsea or other big Premier League clubs. Some people take it for granted that they are going to start, and that weakens the team.

‘Luckily [Erik] Ten Hag has a lot of character and I hope he can change that dynamic.’

Bailly also revealed that he held talks with Ten Hag at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, and decided to leave despite the 52-year-old’s desire to keep him because he wanted more regular playing time.

‘I met Erik Ten Hag in the dressing room at the end of last season when he went to sign his contract,’ Bailly added.

‘I was packing my things because my intention was to leave, but he told me he wanted me to stay because he was going to give minutes to everyone.

‘I agreed to do the summer tour with United, and he kept his word, but I don’t want to play every now and then. I want to do it every week and feel important. I want to get my confidence back.’

Bailly, who joined United in 2016 has played twice for Marseille this season but was on the bench for the 2-0 win at Auxerre at the weekend.

He is not the first player to slam United this summer. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson also slammed the club’s decision towards him as ‘criminal’ in a bombshell interview.

He said: ‘To be quite honest with you, it’s probably been the toughest 12 months of my career. It’s been tough, it’s been hard and I’m so happy I’ve come out the other end of it now.

‘The conversation I had, coming out of the Euros squad (with England), was that you’re coming back here (to United) to be the No 1 goalkeeper. I got Covid, then unfortunately no-one followed through with anything they told me.

‘It’s frustrating as well because I turned so many good loans down last summer for that reason and they wouldn’t let me go. To sit there and waste 12 months is criminal, really, at my age. I was fuming.’

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