Vidic became a United legend after his fearless performances saw him help the club win five league titles, three League Cups and the Champions League during his eight-year stint at Old Trafford, and Smalling believes Bailly has some of the Serbian’s hallmarks.
Bailly was signed by Jose Mourinho in the summer from Villarreal for a fee of £30 million and has enjoyed an impressive start to life in the Premier League, even though the club itself has been stuttering somewhat.
Speaking to MUTV, via the club’s website, Smalling said of Bailly: “He’s very physically imposing as well and really easy to play alongside.
“Nemanja was one of those defenders who was very aggressive, very dominant and took no nonsense.
“Eric plays the same way.
“He can go through a tackle and he doesn’t take risks. If it needs to go, it goes! You can see the similarities there and I expect Eric to have many good years here.
“The more games we play together, the more we’re getting used to one another
“As defenders we need to be vocal and he’s getting a lot stronger at that, with his English really improving.
“We’ve got certain calls and certain words which he, and any foreign player that comes in, can understand, no matter if his English is advanced or not.
“It’s about developing that, and the more games we get together I think we’ll get stronger and stronger.”
Daley Blind started the season as Bailly’s partner in the centre of defence, but it looks like Smalling could be the man to play beside him in the long-term.
What do you make of the comparison between Vidic and Bailly? Is it too soon for talk like that? Or has the Ivorian already cemented his place as a automatic pick under Mourinho?