After only a handful of games for his new club, defender Eric Bailly has quickly become a fan-favourite at Manchester United.
Eyebrows were raised at José Mourinho’s decision to spend £30m on the Ivorian centre-back, but based on his early performances he will be well worth the significant investment.
The 22-year-old has been earning praise from all sides, from the manager to the stands, and now an Old Trafford legend has added his considerably weighty opinion by throwing some more praise Bailly’s way.
Nemanja Vidic, who made 300 appearances for the club in a trophy-laden eight and a half year spell, has said that he is flattered that people are already beginning to compare Bailly to him.
Speaking to Man United’s matchday programme United Review (later published by the official website), Vidic has confidently predicted that if the young defender carries on at this rate, he will certainly go on to have a highly successful career at the club, just as he himself did before ultimately leaving in 2014.
“It’s nice to hear and, from what I’ve seen, he is a very good player.
“If he keeps going as he is, he will definitely have a great career at United,” Vidic told us. “Of course, I’m glad that someone compares him to me and I hope he will be a player who does very well for us. He’s strong and composed with the ball. He’s a very confident player. He has a bit of everything.
“What I have seen in the first few matches is that we have a great player for the future and a player I would say we needed. He reads the game well.
“He already looks a big signing for us.
ERIC BAILLY pic.twitter.com/R76BenBFPr
— Gee (@Br_eal) September 26, 2016
“I think he’s already popular with the fans. Of the signings we’ve had this year, I think he’s the one that has surprised everyone the most. He’s 22 years old and he went straight into the club and looks at home straight away.
“That’s outstanding for me. We know how many players come to England and need time to adapt and that, for me, is what is so impressive – he’s 22 and he has adapted straight away and showed some confidence which is important.”
Bailly continued his impressive form in the 4-1 demolition of Premier League champions Leicester on Saturday, ensuring that neither Jamie Vardy nor Islam Slimani were given an inch.
Eric Bailly made 7 interceptions against Leicester, no player in the Premier League made more. [Squawka] #MUFC
— Red Related (@RedRelated) September 25, 2016
Vidic goes on to give his heir apparent some advice going forward, how to maintain the good form without getting carried away by it:
“The most important thing for a player of his age is to keep his feet on the ground,
“The first few matches he really performed well and had so many compliments from everyone, but it’s important to stay calm, keep doing what he was doing before and keep improving.
“If he continues to play like he does and stays focused, he can be here for many years and help the team be successful.”