Eric Bailly has responded to receiving praise from former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic, noting that such kind words brought warmth to his heart.
The Ivorian, the first player brought to Old Trafford by Jose Mourinho, has made 27 appearances in all competitions under the 54-year-old so far this season.
Many thought that Bailly, following just one full season at Villarreal, would struggle to immediately adapt to life under Mourinho, but the 22-year-old has since delighted supporters with an array of bombastic displays at the back.
And Vidic, when asked about Bailly’s opening season at Old Trafford, noted: “I like Eric’s aggression. It is important for a defender. He is young but confident on the ball. Sometimes he gives away some chances but I think it is important to have courage to play at the back.
“He still has space to improve and he is at a great club where he has all the tools to improve so I believe he is going to be here at the club for many years and hopefully help the club to win trophies.”
Bailly, upon being shown this segment of the Serbian’s interview, was clearly humbled at such lofty praise.
“It gives me great pleasure to hear that a legend such as Nemanja Vidic is talking like this about it me, it brought warmth to my heart,” he said. “He says he likes me but also gives me advice to work hard.
“As he says, I’m young, I’m at a great club and therefore must continue to work hard to improve, as there are lots of things for me to learn. It’s possible for me to help the team and have a great future here in Manchester.”
The Ivorian spent no time messing about at Man United. From day one he was there, imposing himself in emphatic fashion, working at a rate more explosive than most members of the first team. This was visibly apparent during his first outing in a red shirt – against Leicester City in the Community Shield – and hasn’t dropped in potency since.
One thing that could trouble Bailly, however, is his apparent susceptibility to picking up injuries: Mourinho, in turn, will need to be careful when it comes to ingratiating the youngster into the fabric of English football over the next year or so.