Manchester United defender Eric Bailly was reportedly ‘surprised’ to receive a call to say he would be needed for the Red Devils’ Premier League clash with Burnley on Wednesday. The Ivory Coast international was at the airport preparing to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations when he was told to return to his club side.
Bailly has played only six times across all competitions this season, including making three Premier League appearances.
The 27-year-old was often third choice behind Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He was then pushed further down the pecking order by the arrival of former Real Madrid star and France World Cup winner Raphael Varane in the summer.
Bailly is widely understood to be frustrated by his lack of appearances at Old Trafford. He has played only 112 times in five years.
To put that into context, Harry Maguire, who joined three years after Bailly, has featured 14 more matches in a Red Devils shirt.
But Bailly might make a rare appearance alongside Maguire when United host Burnley on Wednesday night.
The former Villarreal star was at the airport preparing to join the Ivory Coast squad when he was told that he would actually be needed for the crunch top-flight clash, according to the Daily Mail.
Premier League sides were given an extension until January 3 to release players for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Bailly’s exasperation over how his United career has panned out reportedly boiled over in October. Solskjaer used a half-fit Maguire against Leicester, with the England star making a couple of mistakes in the 4-2 defeat.
The Mail continue that the centre-back openly took his then-boss to task over the decision and is now questioning signing a new contract last season.
“The good thing is we got a point but the performance needs to be better.”
He added: “It was not a question of formation, it was a question of how aggressive we were.
“In three days we have the next game. We can do better but we have to do it. We shouldn’t look for excuses – we need to be better and get more physical.
“I was not happy with our performance with the ball or when we had to press. What kind of energy mode do we play with the ball and without the ball?”