Manchester United’s new main man is not the likes of Angel di Maria or Radamel Falcao, but is the quietly effective Daley Blind – that is according to a former Old Trafford player.
Speaking to talkSPORT, ex-Red Devils defender Paul McGrath was full of praise for the man signed from Ajax in a £14million deal on transfer deadline day after he made his debut on Sunday.
Louis van Gaal secured his first competitive victory in charge of Manchester United against a lacklustre Queens Park Rangers side, running out comfortable 4-0 winners in an encouraging performance.
Record £59.7million signing Di Maria won the Man of the Match award after scoring the opener and setting up two more, but McGrath was more taken with the other debutant – there were three in total during the match.
One of the criticisms of Manchester United over the past two seasons had been their failure to secure the services of a player that can combine the defensive midfielder duties of ball-winning and creative passing of the ball.
Now McGrath believes they have found the perfect candidate in the 24-year-old Netherlands international.
“Blind is a class act. I was watching him in particular against Queens Park Rangers,” said the former Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland great.
“The defensive stuff he does is what United have been looking for. He was running around making defensive tackles, as well as connecting it to the front.”
Will be key man
Blind is expected to have a significant role for the Red Devils this season because of the trust that Louis van Gaal showed in him before he took over at Old Trafford.
Manchester United’s new manager made Blind an integral part of his Netherlands starting XI that finished third at the World Cup in Brazil this summer, playing as both a defender and midfielder.
His first few matches for Ajax after being promoted from the youth set-up were spent mainly at full-back, but his talent on the ball and terrific stamina meant he was eventually used primarily as a defensive midfielder – his performances there won him the Eredivisie Player of the Year award for last season.
It was a largely cohesive performance by United against QPR, despite the fact that Blind and Marcos Rojo making their full debuts, or Di Maria and Ander Herrera only previously having played a handful of minutes.
Falcao came on to make his bow with a little over 20 minutes to go in a win that will have fans of the Old Trafford club feeling somewhat more optimistic about the season ahead.