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‘Bailly a threat to Maguire’s guaranteed starter spot’ – Man Utd have healthy competition, says Brown

12:59 GMT 26/01/2021
Eric Bailly Harry Maguire
The former Red Devils defender sees added squad depth at Old Trafford helping to raise collective standards under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Eric Bailly has become a threat to Harry Maguire’s spot as a guaranteed starter with Manchester United, says Wes Brown, with added competition for places raising collective standards at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have seen questions asked of their defensive department in recent times, with there calls in the 2020-21 campaign for reinforcements to be found in that area.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is said to be registering on the Old Trafford recruitment radar, with the World Cup winner approaching the end of his contract at Santiago Bernabeu.

United have, however, found stability and continuity down the spine of their side, with Bailly coming back into favour after shaking off niggling injury issues.

He has tended to be rotated with Sweden international Victor Lindelof, but Brown believes that pair could be used in tandem as club captain Maguire takes in the odd break.

The former Red Devils defender has told Stadium Astro of the improvement made in Manchester this season: “United’s defenders this year have done well.

“They started the season badly, with some bad individual mistakes, but since players have started coming back and challenging for positions, I think it has upped everyone’s game a little bit.

“[Alex] Telles coming in has upped Luke Shaw’s game, Bailly coming back and getting a few games has upped Lindelof’s game.

“Harry Maguire you would say starts every game if he is fit, but Eric Bailly now has made it difficult for Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] in the sense that if he keeps on playing like that then he might have to keep him in for a while.

“I love competition and I think that is one thing that got dug into us.”

Brown spent 15 years competing for regular game time at United after stepping out of their famed academy system.

He took in 362 appearances and helped the Red Devils to five Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns during the iconic reign of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Solskjaer is in the process of trying to bring the good times back to Old Trafford, with the progress he has overseen across two years helping to put United back in contention for major honours at home and abroad.