Manchester United fans have expressed their delight following Eric Bailly’s return from the Africa Cup of Nations.
It was thought that Bailly, who departed for Gabon with the Ivory Coast squad on January 2, would be absent until mid-Feburary.
However, following Ivory Coast’s 1-0 defeat to Morocco, a match they needed to win following draws against Togo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bailly will return to Manchester earlier than expected.
Man United fans were quick to voice their enthusiasm in light of the 22-year-old’s impending return.
ERIC BAILLY IS BACK !!!! #mufc
— ManUnitedMedia (@ManUnitedMedia) January 24, 2017
I for one am happy that Ivory Coast has been knocked out at #AFCON2017, good to have Eric Bailly back at United.
— B R I A N (@SLWMO__) January 25, 2017
A combination of injury to Marcos Rojo and Bailly’s absence briefly led to troubling – though not critical – shortage of defensive personnel at Old Trafford, with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling playing a string of games together as United’s only recognised senior centre-backs.
Bailly’s return, therefore, feels immensely valuable, especially since question marks continue to loom over how long Rojo – initially thought to be inundated by nothing more than a minor knock – will be sidelined for. But the Ivorian is far more than just another body at the back; his presence instills a sense of vigour and urgency across United’s back four, and supporters will be looking forward to witnessing his bombastic nature once again.