Eric Bailly back in Manchester United training after knee ligament injury

Eric Bailly is closing in on a return to action for Manchester United after resuming training this week.

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Bailly, 22, was at Carrington on Monday after United manager Jose Mourinho said last week that the Ivory Coast international “will be back before the end of the year, for sure” following a knee ligament injury.

The centre-back was a standout performer for United at the start of the season but sustained the injury in the 4-0 defeat at Chelsea on Oct. 23 and has missed seven games since then, opening the door for Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo to feature.

United have a busy schedule in December with seven matches to play so Bailly’s return would help ease the workload on his teammates.

Mourinho’s side have Premier League matches against Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland and Middlesbrough coming up, as well as a long trip to Ukraine to face Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League.

Bailly’s comeback could be short-lived, though, with the African Nations Cup due to start on Jan. 14.

Ivory Coast are in Group C and will face Togo on Jan. 16, DR Congo on Jan. 20 and Morocco on Jan. 24.

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