Rio Ferdinand has concerns over Eric Bailly’s injury record which prevents him forming a long standing partnership at the heart of Manchester United’s defence.
The Ivorian defender has enjoyed a run of games alongside Harry Maguire.
Victor Lindelof is regularly deployed alongside the former Leicester man but injury has kept the Swede out.
Bailly, who moved to United in 2016, has taken his opportunity and looked assured alongside Maguire.
Another centre-half is on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wish list as he eyes a long-term partner for his captain.
And Ferdinand concedes the Bailly’s fitness record means he cannot be relied upon to form a long lasting understanding at the back.
He said on his FIVE YouTube channel: “A big thing that has gone under the radar is Eric Bailly. He’s added a little bit of pace and steeliness to that back four.
“My only issue with Eric Bailly has always been his fitness, he can never stay fit. He’s always injured or a game away from an injury, and that’s a problem.
“You don’t get that consistency of performance or get to know each other.
“I think Maguire needs pace next to him, he has other attributes but pace isn’t one of them. In the modern game, to have two centre-backs who aren’t electric quick, you’ve got a problem.
“Bailly has good attributes, he’s quick and aggressive. If he can cut the silly mistakes out which he had previously and gets away from injuries and gets a clean bill of health, I think Manchester United are onto a good thing.”
United have kept one clean sheet in their last three as Bailly teams up with Maguire at the back.
In the same period they’ve picked up seven points out of nine to continue their rise up the table.
Next weekend Bailly, if he remains alongside Maguire, will face the acid test of a Liverpool front three, albeit one that is far from 100 per cent.