Luke Shaw has been reflecting on how Eric Bailly’s injury will effect Manchester United’s defence, whilst also emphasising the importance of earning Jose Mourinho’s trust in the Ivorian’s absence.
Bailly sustained a knee ligament injury during Man United’s 4-0 loss to Chelsea last weekend.
The 22-year-old will return to full fitness by the new year, only to then head off with the Ivory Coast for the African Cup of Nations, which starts on January 17th.
Speaking to ManUtd.com, Shaw noted how the side’s back line will miss Bailly’s immense prowess.
“It’s normal you’re frustrated because I would have loved to have played,” he said.
“But obviously, with Eric’s injury now, it might be my time to step up and show the manager what I can do, and to show that he can trust me.
“He has played in all of the games and has been one of our best players each game. I don’t think he’s had an off day because he’s still so young and he brings confidence and calmness to our defence when he gets the ball; sometimes he knows when to clear it but he likes to play from the back.
“That’s what was good for us because we like to start from the back and go through the midfield and attack. He’s going to be a very big miss but I think [against City] people staked their claim to play.”
Bailly has, by all accounts, been United’s most consistent player this season. In a campaign hallmarked by random transitions between excellent performances and dire results, the Ivorian has been an indomitable constant, producing powerful performances irrespective of context.
His injury, therefore, will undoubtedly send shockwaves of uncertainty across the side’s back four. Daley Blind, sometimes used at left-back in order to accommodate Bailly and Chris Smalling, will now have to make the centre-back role his own. This, in turn, means that Shaw is not only United’s first choice left back, but rather their only liable option in that area.
It is, of course, a big responsibility, and United fans will hope to see the youngster step up to the challenge.