Eric Bailly has opened up on the injury hell he has experienced after being sidelined for the majority of the season.
The Manchester United defender was looking to kick on under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this term, but suffered a serious knee injury during the pre-season tour.
Bailly was stretchered off in Shanghai against Tottenham in a friendly, delaying his start to the season until January.
The Ivorian eventually made his return against Chelsea last month as he started as part of a back five. Bailly was immense in the 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, reminding fans of what a seriously talented defender he is.
Bailly has explained the most difficult part of his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“It was such a difficult time,” he told ESPN when asked about his recovery from injury.
“I was basically injured for almost a year and that’s the worst thing that can happen to a footballer or any athlete. But anyway, as I always say, when something bad happens you have to hope for something good to come your way and during that time, when I was recuperating, I had people that helped me with the physical aspect and my family too I had to be strong, especially mentally strong and I’ve done it and now all that bad stuff is behind me. Thank goodness for that.
“The most difficult part was the moment that you get that injury, and when I say injuries I mean that there are different levels of an injury. There are injuries that can keep you out for one week, others that keep you out for less and others that will keep you out for a lot more. And in my case, it was almost five months, and to hear that, honestly it was very difficult.”
Bailly’s United career has been blighted by injuries so far but there is clearly faith in him at the club.
United exercised their option to extend the 25-year-old’s contract by two years in January when his current deal was set to expire at the end of the season.
He is arguably a more suitable partner for captain Harry Maguire than Victor Lindelof if he can remain fit, with his extra pace providing more balance to United’s defence.