It’s been an interesting first season for Eric Bailly at Manchester United.
The Ivorian started life at his new club strongly, demonstrating the physicality Jose Mourinho tends to love in his centre-halves, but missed the entire of November and January as a consequence of injuries and the unexpectedly good form of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones at the heart of defence.
Nonetheless, the 22-year-old has found himself involved again more recently and started against Middlesbrough on Saturday in a new and unusual transitional role, which saw him operate as a right centre-back in a three-man defence, a right-back when left-winger Ashley Young dropped in to make it a flat four and as part of a back six as United looked to see out a win at the Riverside Stadium.
Perhaps a consequence of his continual switching between two positions, Bailly’s stats suggest Sunday’s performance may well have been his best yet in a United shirt. As our infographic shows, he notched up three tackles, eight interceptions and seven clearances, whilst completing three successful dribbles and the joint-most touches, 62, of any Red Devils player.
Perhaps most impressively for such a young defender, the 22-year-old didn’t commit a single foul over the ninety minutes, showing a level of maturity and composure beyond his current level of experience.