Ferdinand warns dream Man Utd defensive duo comes with ‘problem’

Date published: Wednesday 6th January 2021 7:08 - Jonny Whitfield

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand says that Eric Bailly looks to be Harry Maguire’s best centre-back partner at Manchester United but warned that the Ivorian comes with a “problem”.

While Maguire has proven his worth in United‘s defence, doubt has remained about his long-term colleague.

Indeed, Victor Lindelof has occupied that role for some time. However, Bailly also features in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ranks and has struggled to show consistent fitness.

Nevertheless, the 26-year-old has started the last four games alongside Maguire due to Lindlof’s back injury.

Speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand admitted that he is growing fond of the duo. However, he warned that Bailly’s fitness struggles are his inherent problem.

“A big thing that has gone under the radar is Eric Bailly. He’s added a little bit of pace and steeliness to that back four,” the pundit said.

“My only issue with Eric Bailly has always been his fitness, he can never stay fit. He’s always injured or a game away from an injury, and that’s a problem.

“You don’t get that consistency of performance or get to know each other.”

Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly

Bailly has only made 93 appearances since his move to United in 2016 due to injury.

Indeed, he had knee surgery in July last year which ruled him out for a great deal of last season. Aside from that, he has suffered ankle problems and niggling muscle issues.

Ferdinand backs Bailly for Man Utd

However, Ferdinand said that his quality as a defender still makes him Maguire’s ideal partner.

“I think Maguire needs pace next to him, he has other attributes but pace isn’t one of them,” he said. “In the modern game, to have two centre-backs who aren’t electric quick, you’ve got a problem.

“Bailly has good attributes, he’s quick and aggressive. If he can cut the silly mistakes out which he had previously and gets away from injuries and gets a clean bill of health, I think Manchester United are onto a good thing.”

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