Football

Bailly & Pogba have both made an impact..

Eric Bailly has surprised everyone at Man United, claims David de Gea

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David de Gea welcomed a host of new stars to Manchester United over the summer with big names like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba providing a fresh challenge for him in training.

The Swedish striker and the French midfielder are both renowned for their ability in front of goal; Ibrahimovic for his finishing and Pogba for his tendency to fire home from ridiculous distances.

But while those two may have arrived with reputations as big as their talent warrants, it is the relatively unknown quantity of Eric Bailly that appears to have left the United staff stunned.

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Few had heard of the Ivorian centre-back before Manchester United came calling but the fact that Jose Mourinho happily handed £30m to Villarreal for his signature suggested he was something special.

Although lacking in experience – he had made just 40 senior league appearances when he moved to Old Trafford – he has already started to impress the players around Carrington.

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'Technically confident and super-fast'

De Gea told the Daily Mail: "Oof, a great signing. Eric’s come in and surprised us all very quickly. I remember when I first came to England and, trust me, it can be hard early on but he’s flying.

"He is physical, strong, technically confident and super-fast. He only speaks a little English but we have lots of Spaniards in the dressing room and Paul Pogba speaks French of course.

"He’s a big presence and when I stand in the tunnel and look behind me, he is one of the new big, powerful players along with Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic that gives us real presence and stature this season."

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United - Premier League

Man of the matches

But the secret is already out. Many fans and pundits have already experienced exactly what De Gea is trying to describe. The 22-year-old has been named man of the match in three of his four appearances for Manchester United and is already believed to be ahead of Chris Smalling in the pecking order.

Considering Mourinho had warned fans not to expect too much from a man trying to settle into a new country, league and club, it points to an incredibly resilient and adaptable personality.

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Quick start

And his rapid start to life in Manchester is no surprise, especially for his former coach Sergio Gonzalez, who helped to fast-track him through the ranks at Espanyol.

He told the same report: "He has amazing qualities. He started training with the first team and became hard to ignore. No strikers wanted to be against him. They’d ask me to go against someone else. He’s on top of you, intense, breathing down your neck, nicking in.

"He played at Barcelona in his third start. We were 1-0 up at half-time and he had played [Lionel] Messi out of the game. We lost but that was when I knew he was seriously special."

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol - La Liga

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Eric Bailly
David de Gea
Football
Premier League
Ryan Giggs

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