Wednesday Jul 14, 2021. 15:00
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has jokingly told Ivorian duo Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo that they must return to Old Trafford with Olympic medals.
The pair will miss out on the Red Devils’ pre-season campaign as they join up with their Ivory Coast teammates to participate in the men’s football competition at Tokyo 2020.
Bailly is one of three overage players allowed in the U-24 squad, the others being Franck Kessie and Max Gradel, while Diallo’s pace and dribbling make him one of the most exciting players heading to the Games.
Explaining his decision to release the pair, Solskjaer told United’s website: “I think everyone, when they grow up, watches the Olympics and can see Usain Bolt or Ryan Giggs. I saw him play in the Olympics [for Great Britain].
“When your country calls you up, I think I can’t stand in the way of that boyhood dream being fulfilled.
“Of course, Eric is over-age, but I think they can see the value of him and that’s why they have brought him in.
“Amad is a young, exciting prospect. It’ll be good to see them. It’ll be their pre-season, but they’ve got to come back with a medal. We need a nice feel about the place when they come back!”
Ivory Coast will face Group D opponents Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Germany on July 22, 25 and 28 respectively.