Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (R) speaks to Manchester United’s Eric Bailly
Friday May 11, 2018. 19:00
The Ivory Coast’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup may be costing Eric Bailly his place in the Manchester United team.
The 23-year-old defender has had a season ravaged by injury and illness, but will still be hopeful of making a big impact in what remains of the campaign, with a place in the starting line-up for the FA Cup final later this month surely his primary goal.
But as strange as it sounds, the fact that the Elephants won’t be appearing at Russia 2018 – and Bailly therefore is not in need of game time to prepare for the tournament – means manager Jose Mourinho is not prepared to ‘help’ him.
"He [Bailly] is one of our five central defenders and honestly my work is not about World Cups and preparing players for the World Cup or giving chances to players at the World Cup, but he’s the only central defender whose country is not in the World Cup," he told reporters last week.
“So if I have to make a kind of more emotional, effective choice to help my players he’s the one I’m not going to help."
With Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof ahead of Bailly in the pecking order – according to Mourinho’s thinking – we may well have seen the last of the Ivorian for the 2017/18 season.