Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly has enjoyed a sound first season in England since his £30m summer move from Villarreal. Although still raw, his aggressive and uncompromising style has gone down well with fans, even drawing some comparisons with club legend and former captain Nemanja Vidic.
Different from the likes of Manchester City liability John Stones, Bailly is a defender first and actively enjoys the challenges that come with foiling attackers and winning the ball back.
"I love to tackle, I love to head the ball, I love one-on-ones," the Ivory Coast international explained in a hype video released via United's social media channels to celebrate his 23rd birthday.
"I will fight, fight, fight for United. They call me 'The Beast'," he added.
And it's not just a comparison with Vidic, winner of five Premier League titles and the 2007/08 Champions League. The retired Serbian hero himself has also spoken glowingly about Bailly.
"I like his aggression, which I think is important for a defender. He's young as well, and confident with the ball. Sometimes maybe he gives away chances, but I think it's important for him to have courage to play at the back, especially at this time in football," Vidic told MUTV.
"He has qualities, of course, but he's young and still has time to improve. He's at a great club and has all the tools to improve, so I believe he's going to be around for many years and hopefully help the club to win trophies."
Responding to such praise, Bailly said, "It gives me great please to hear that a legend and great player such as Nemanja Vidic is talking about me like this. It brings warmth to my heart.
"He says he likes me but also gives me advice to work hard. As he says, I am young, I am at a great club, therefore I must continue to work hard to improve as there are lots of things for me to learn.
"It's possible for me to help the team and have a great future here in Manchester, and I thank this fantastic player (Vidic)."
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