Eric Bailly recalled from Afcon preparations by Man Utd as defender jets back from Ivory Coast for Burnley game

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Eric Bailey has flown back to Manchester United from Ivory Coast and is struggling for a game against Burnley.

The Red Devils allowed the defender to participate in the preparation of his country’s African Cup of Nations.

Eric Bailly in contention for Manchester United's game against Burnley

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Eric Bailly in contention for Manchester United’s game against Burnley

But, after United’s disappointing 1-1 draw with struggling Newcastle on Monday, the 27-year-old Bailey has now been ordered back to the UK.

And, after shaky looks from Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane at St James’ Park, they could be back straight into action in Thursday’s Old Trafford clash.

Bailey hasn’t started for XI for more than a month, but is in contention against the Clarets, according to The Telegraph.

On Monday, Varane was dismissed for a goal scored by Allan Saint-Maximin, and his fellow centre-half Maguire looked at full speed.

And it will come as no surprise to see that boss Ralph Rangnick dropped either Maguire or Varane after their diligent performance.

Speaking after the draw, Maguire says an enforced 16-day Covid break could result in lost points.

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The England international said: “No 16-day break in the middle of the football season is going to help you.

“The training ground has been closed and half the kids playing today are recovering from the virus, so of course it’s not going to help us.

“We have people with symptoms, people without symptoms, it’s been a real mixed bag for everyone at the football club and it’s been a tough time.

“But you can’t make excuses for sloppy passes and the opportunities we have, especially in the first half.

“We have to stay on the ball, we have to be active and we have to play the ball in their half and we didn’t manage to do that.

“You can look at it and ask if the last 16 days had a big impact on him because it looked like we ran out of steam from there.

“A point in the end is a reasonable result, but it is an outcome we are disappointed with.”

It was a scintillating Man Utd performance on Monday night and the players were again slammed by club legend Gary Neville.

Harry Maguire suggests some players were sluggish against Newcastle

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Harry Maguire suggests some players were sluggish against Newcastle

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