Supporters are not the only ones comparing Eric Bailly to Manchester United great Nemanja Vidic 3 years ago

Supporters are not the only ones comparing Eric Bailly to Manchester United great Nemanja Vidic

For a central defender plying his trade at Old Trafford, there is no greater compliment than a comparison to Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic.

Vidic made 300 appearances for the Red Devils between 2006 and 2014, and struck up an almost impenetrable partnership with Rio Ferdinand at the heart of a well-drilled defensive unit which was flanked by Gary Neville and Patrice Evra.

A throwback to centre-halves of old, Vidic holds a special place in the hearts of United supporters.

But those same fans recently celebrated the arrival of Ivorian defender Eric Bailly, whose early performances under Jose Mourinho have earned plenty of praise, with many likening his style to that of Vidic.

But it's not just the Old Trafford faithful who have noticed the similarities as Bailly's new teammate Mike Chris Smalling has also recognised a resemblance to his former captain.

“He’s very physically imposing as well and really easy to play alongside,” Smalling told MUTV.

“Nemanja was one of those defenders who was very aggressive, very dominant and took no nonsense.

“Eric plays the same way. He can go through a tackle and he doesn’t take risks. If it needs to go, it goes! You can see the similarities there and I expect Eric to have many good years here.”

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Smalling and Bailly, if both fit, are expected to be Mourinho's first-choice pairing at the back and the England international is looking forward to the task ahead.

“The more games we play together, the more we’re getting used to one another,” Smalling added.

“As defenders we need to be vocal and he’s getting a lot stronger at that, with his English really improving.

“We’ve got certain calls and certain words which he, and any foreign player that comes in, can understand, no matter if his English is advanced or not.

“It’s about developing that, and the more games we get together I think we’ll get stronger and stronger.”

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