Eric Bailly has given a positive fitness update following his appearance for Ivory Coast against Togo in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. The Manchester United defender played the entire 90 minutes and admitted that he has 'recovered physically' from his knee problems that hampered him in the first-half of the Premier League season which will come as a massive boost to Jose Mourinho.
The former Villarreal defender was one of the most impressive players for the Red Devils in the first-half of the season. Despite only arriving in England last summer with minimal experience, the Ivorian took to the Premier League like a proverbial duck to water, and put in some top quality performances.
However, a knee ligament injury in October ensured he missed the next month before returning for the game against Tottenham as a second-half substitute. Bailly's return was short lived as he sustained another knee injury in the game against Crystal Palace three days later which saw him miss the majority of United's festive fixtures. He returned for the win against Middlesbrough on New Year's eve before departing for the Afcon cup with Ivory Coast.
"I'm fine. The injury happened, but I have recovered physically and it feels good," Bailly said after his side's 0-0 draw against Togo in the Afcon Cup, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
Elsewhere, Luke Shaw is also expected to return to the first-team, with Mourinho set to recall him for United's busy fixture schedule in the coming weeks. The 20-time English champions are set to play four games in the space of 13 days and the Portuguese manager will need to rotate his players to keep them fresh.
The former Southampton defender has been blighted by minor injuries and struggled for form this season, which has seen him fall down the pecking order for a place at left-back. Mourinho has preferred Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind or Marcos Rojo ahead of the Englishman, but is ready to give him another chance to stake his claim for a regular first-team spot, according to the Telegraph.
The 21-year-old, who last played on 29 October, has returned to full fitness following a spell on the sidelines with a groin injury, and will be given a chance either during their upcoming Premier League clash against Stoke City or for the EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Hull City.