'He has potential' - Vidic backs Bailly to go far at Man Utd

Eric Bailly Manchester United Gaston Ramirez Middlesbrough
The former Red Devils and Serbia defender heaped praise on Ivory Coast international, who he thinks can be a great player for the Red Devils

Manchester United legend Nemaja Vidic thinks that Eric Bailly, who made a brilliant start to life at the club before being injured, has the potential to be a great player in the Premier League. 

Voted as United's Player of the Month back in August, Bailly was sidelined with knee injury in October and only recently returned to the starting side. 

WATCH: The latest episode of Studs Up

"Eric Bailly started really well with a steady two or three months," Vidic told ESPN. "Then he was unlucky with injury and the African Cup of Nations.

Goal 50 Revealed: The best 50 players in the world

"He's aggressive, he has potential, he's young and he likes to defend. He has the qualities to go even further."

United have struggled in recent years to find the type of centre-back partnership that lead to success under Sir Alex Ferguson when the club relied heavily on pairings such as Vidic and Rio Ferdinand to anchor the backline. 

But the former Serbia international believes that Bailly has the ability to play in that type of partnership, be it with Chris Smalling or Phil Jones. 

"But I still think that Phil Jones and/or Chris Smalling could build a partnership with Bailly," he adds. "Smalling has the mentality to defend, the physical size to do it. He likes to defend."

Manchester United’s most expensive transfers of all time | Eric Bailly

While Bailly was used as a centre-back early in the season, the injury, African Cup of Nations and a shift to right back have all forced Bailly to miss crucial time in building any kind of relationship with the other centre-backs, and Vidic feels it will take time for a real bond to develop at the back. 

Pereira ready for United return

"Communication is very important in defence and it doesn't help when there has been a lot of changes in United's defence, like this season," Vidic says. "It's important for central defenders to build partnerships. If you change too much then it's difficult to understand each other.

"I was lucky to play for many years with Rio [Ferdinand]. Even though we were very different as players and personalities, I knew what he was going to do in any moment and he knew what I could do.

"That is absolutely vital for central defenders, but you also need a goalkeeper to communicate with you. David [de Gea] is brilliant and he's doing really well. He can also tell the defenders to speak more, to be more active in the game."