Approaching the end of his second year in charge of Manchester United, Eric Bailly remains one of Jose Mourinho's finest acquisitions to date.
Although injuries have somewhat scuppered the Ivorian's progress, Bailly remains an incredibly promising talent, and, compared to a number of his defensive contemporaries, appears undaunted at the prospect of playing for United.
Speaking ahead of his side's Friday evening tie with Brighton & Hove Albion, however, Mourinho explained why the 24-year-old Bailly isn't playing at this current moment:
There's no situation. It's fine, no injury. He is one of our five central defenders and honestly my work is not about World Cups and preparing players for the World Cup or giving chances to players at the World Cup, but he's the only central defender whose country is not in the World Cup.
So if I have to make a kind of more emotional effective choice to help my players he's the one I'm not going to help.
[Marcos] Rojo, [Victor] Lindelof, [Phil] Jones, [Chris] Smalling, all of them are wishing to make the squad for the World Cup and Eric is not under that pressure.
Unlike his four defensive contemporaries, Bailly is guaranteed to play no part in this summer's World Cup in Russia. As a result, it would now appear that his playing-time with United has been severely restricted.
Having most recently featured in United's 3-2 defeat of Manchester City on the April 7, Bailly has been similarly called upon for notable victories against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
With an FA Cup final against Chelsea signifying United's last important fixture of the season, the Portuguese may well intend to ensure Bailly is available for selection. However, with "four central defenders fighting for a position in the World Cup," Mourinho intends to give less playing-time to the Ivorian for the time being.