O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! And other ecstatic, nonsensical noises. For Manchester United’s most irritating and persistent injury is finally over. Eric Bailly, the best defender in the squad, is back.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, of course, and the last few months of watching Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, and Victor Lindelof clatter around have done wonder for Bailly’s reputation. It’s not unfair to say that over those missed games, his stature has increased until he’s become perhaps the greatest central defender in the history of the game: 50% Franco Baresi, 50% Nemanja Vidic, and 50% Fort Knox. The actual building. With the big heavy doors and the armed guards and all the rest.
Of course, he’ll need a couple of games to get up to speed after his injury; whether he makes an appearance against Huddersfield or not, the really interesting call will be whether he starts against Sevilla in the Champions League. Still, it’s nice to have him back. In amongst all the mistakes, United’s central defenders often come across as a slightly feeble lot. This is not something anybody’s ever said about Bailly.