Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett has revealed there is a softer side to Louis van Gaal, insisting that the Dutch coach is not quite as intimidating as the terrifying character that is perceived in the media.
The 20-year-old spoke glowingly about the Red Devils manager's coaching methods in an interview with The Sun at the weekend, and reflected positively on his start to the new campaign despite the fact the Premier League giants are still waiting for their first win of 2014/15.
Blackett is one of the first young players at Old Trafford to benefit from Van Gaal's pledge to give youth a chance this season, and has been a surprise starter in each of Manchester United's three league games on the left side of their new look three man defence after impressing on the club's pre-season tour of North America.
His rise to first-team prominence has been swift for a player that spent the previous campaign on loan at Blackpool and Birmingham City in the Championship, but is hoping to cement his place in the side - even after the £16 million arrival of Argentine star Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon.
Tyler Blackett quotes:
"I've played in some good games and it has been a good learning curve," said Blackett. "I sort of expected it after the way I played in pre-season. I know I did well and the team got some good results.
"The new manager always said he would be interested in young players and I knew that I was in with a chance."
Blackett is currently on international duty with the England U21s, and is set to feature in their final Euro 2015 qualifier in Moldova on Tuesday. The pressure is off for Gareth Southgate's Young Lions who have already booked their place in the play-offs.
Asked specifically about Van Gaal's approach on the training ground which has clearly got the best out of the Manchester United youngster, Blackett explained that his man-management skills are first-class.
"He pushes us hard but he is quite relaxed. He seems to know when to be serious and when to have a laugh.
"He has some good banter with the lads, but he can be quite intimidating."
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Blackett will return to Manchester on Wednesday after tomorrow's game and begin preparations for Saturday's home clash against newly promoted Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford.
With Rojo finally granted a work permit and deadline day signings Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao available for selection, it will present a perfect opportunity for the Red Devils to kickstart their season under the new Van Gaal era, and Blackett will certainly be hoping to be involved.