Ferdinand believes Bailly is the ideal central defender partner for Maguire in Man Utd, but is wary of injury history

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The former Red Devils defender has been impressed with the Ivorian’s recent performances and is hopeful that he can maintain his current fitness level.

Manchester United are “in a good situation” with Eric Bailly if he can stay away from injuries, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Bailly has endured mixed fortunes at Old Trafford since completing a £ 30 million ($ 41 million) move from Villarreal in June 2016.

The Ivory Coast international helped the Red Devils win a Europa League and League Cup double in his first season, but has been unable to maintain a regular place in the team since then due to fitness issues.

He only played four Premier League appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team in the 2019-20 season and fell behind Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in the team’s pecking order.

However, Bailly enjoyed a mini revival since returning to the starting eleven in December.

Solskjaer named the 26-year-old to his lineup in light of United’s last four games in all competitions, including a 2-1 home win over Aston Villa last Friday.

Bailly’s importance was highlighted when his last-minute blocking prevented Villa from scoring the equalizer, and he was harassed by his relieved teammates after the final whistle.

Ferdinand believes the center-back has all the qualities to stand alongside Maguire in the long run, but he still has some doubts about his physical condition.

“One big thing that has gone unnoticed is Eric Bailly,” the United legend said on his YouTube channel. FIVE.

“He has added a bit of pace and stamina to the last four. My only problem with Eric Bailly has always been his fitness, he can never keep fit.

“He’s always injured or one game from injury, and that’s a problem. You don’t get that consistency in acting and you don’t get to know it.

“I think Maguire needs rhythm with him, he has other attributes, but rhythm is not one of them. In the modern game, having two center-backs that are not fast like electric, you have a problem.

“Bailly has good attributes, he is fast and aggressive. If he can eliminate the silly mistakes he made earlier and walk away from injuries and get into good health, I think Manchester United is right.”

The Red Devils’ latest victory saw them level on points with reigning champion Liverpool at the top of the table, and they still have a game to face against Burnley on January 12.

Ferdinand believes that Solskjaer’s men are capable of mounting a realistic title challenge, having discovered a consistent streak in recent months that they hadn’t had before.

He added: “Whenever I talked about Man United, the first thing I always said was that we did not lack quality, personality or the right type of characters, it was simply a lack of consistency, we did not have it.

“We all know [Paul] Pogba, [Marcus] Rashford, [Anthony] Martial and [Mason] Greenwood can be a great player in his day. But were we doing it as a collective constantly?

“The only way to win titles is if you have that word in your arsenal: consistency. The last ten games, what they’ve done has been fantastic. It’s a way to win titles.

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