Eric Bailly has accused Manchester United of favouritism in picking the matchday team, and claimed that selection was based on nationality rather than ability.
Bailly, who joined Marseille on loan in the summer, moved to Old Trafford in 2016 but struggled to to pin down a regular spot in the first team.
The 28-year-old made just four Premier League appearances for the Red Devils last season after falling down the pecking order under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
His frustration was further compounded by the coaches’ preference for struggling Harry Maguire.
Bailly is hopeful, however, that what he perceives as favouritism based on nationality will end with Erik ten Hag now in charge at Old Trafford.
“The club should avoid favouring English players and give everyone a chance. [The club 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,” Bailly told The Times.
“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.”
Bailly revealed he held talks with Ten Hag at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, and decided to leave despite the 52-year-old’s desire to keep him because he wanted more regular playing time.
He added: “I met Erik Ten Hag in the dressing room at the end of last season when he went to sign his contract,” Bailly said. “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.”