Manchester United stand accused of favouring English players by a defender who left on loan after being restricted to just three Premier League starts last season.
Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly has joined Marseille on loan, playing with fellow Premier League escapees Nuno Tavares, Alexis Sanchez, Matteo Guendouzi and Dimitri Payet, among many others.
Bailly will face Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday night and must be amused to watch from afar as new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has dropped Harry Maguire in favour of Raphael Varane and new signing Lisandro Martinez.
Maguire was dropped to the bench after a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford and Manchester United have since won four consecutive games.
“The club should avoid favouring English players and give everyone a chance,” said Bailly, in comments reported by The Times. “They should encourage competition in the dressing room, not just look out for some. I’ve always had the feeling that the national player was prioritised.
“That doesn’t happen at Chelsea or other big Premier League clubs. Some people take it for granted that they are going to start, and that weakens the team. Luckily [Erik] Ten Hag has a lot of character and I hope he can change that dynamic.
“I played important games and in some I was chosen as the best player. I think when I was given the opportunity I rose to the occasion. I just lacked consistency, because I think I deserved more minutes.”
It is certainly telling that new boss Ten Hag has not only dropped Maguire but has also sidelined English defenders Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Bailly also revealed that Ten Hag wanted him to stay at United but he wanted to play regular first-team football so opted to leave.
“I met Erik Ten Hag in the dressing room at the end of last season when he went to sign his contract.
“I was packing my things because my intention was to leave, but he told me he wanted me to stay because he was going to give minutes to everyone.
“I agreed to do the summer tour with United, and he kept his word, but I don’t want to play every now and then. I want to do it every week and feel important. I want to get my confidence back.”