Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has been ruled out of Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign due to medial knee ligament damage, the Premier League club have confirmed.
Bailly started a first Premier League game for United since February in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea but was withdrawn in the 71st minute.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed after the match that the 25-year-old would not feature again for his club this season and the damage is severe enough to mean Bailly cannot take part in Ivory Coast’s matches in Egypt when the 2019 continental tournament begins in June.
Ibrahim Kamara’s side have been drawn alongside Morocco, South Africa and Namibia in Group D.
Bailly joined United from Villarreal in July 2016 for £30million and made Premier League starts in the 2016-17 season, although form and fitness struggles have since hindered his progress.
United lie sixth in England’s top flight, three points shy of Chelsea in the final Champions League qualification spot, with games against Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City remaining this season.
Solskjaer was without Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at the weekend, meaning Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo could be his only senior centre-back options for Sunday’s trip to the John Smith’s Stadium.