Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett says he is "living the dream" playing for his boyhood team, before adding that his local upbringing give him extra motivation heading into this weekend's derby clash against inner city rivals Manchester City.
The 20-year-old academy scholar has made great strides in the Red Devils first-team this season, already making six senior appearances under the new tutelage of Louis van Gaal.
And, although he's dropped out of the starting XI in recent weeks, he's hoping to be involved in some capacity at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday when Manchester United will be looking to follow up last weekend's 1-1 draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea by getting one over Manuel Pellegrini's side.
"It means everything to me," Blackett told ManUtd.com. "I was brought up here in Manchester and playing now for United is like a dream come true. Hopefully, I'll continue to do my best for the club.
"Being a local lad, there's no extra pressure but it's something I thrive on. As one of the more local lads, I know what this club means. Don't get me wrong, the foreign players know Manchester United as well, but being a local lad gives you extra incentive to do well.
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"You know the history and which players have come through with my being here all through the ranks. I know what it means to me and my family as well."
Blackett's rise to first-team prominence came as something of a surprise to most people, mainly due to the fact he hadn't been anywhere near the senior set-up prior to Van Gaal's arrival at Old Trafford during the summer.
But, after impressing on the club's pre-season tour of the United States, the recently capped England U21 international was given his chance when injury problems presented an opportunity for Blackett to stake his claim for a regular place in the team.
"I get a bit of stick now and again but it's all good banter and good to be around it."
The Dutch coach came with a reputation for the successful nurturing and development of promising young talent, and he has stayed true to his word that a clear pathway will be provided to those players who prove themselves good enough at the elite level.
Blackett encapsulates everything a manager would want from an up-and-coming talent, and his hard work and commitment could be rewarded with some game time in this weekend's high-profile encounter, the enormity of which is not lost on the player.
"I'm from Hulme, right in the city centre," he added. "There are City fans where I live and I get a bit of stick now and again but it's all good banter and good to be around it. There's a lot more of them now!
"Everyone in my family is a United fan and have always watched United over the years. With fans from both sides of Manchester being in the stadium, it provides an extra atmosphere to the ground. The derby is a great game to play in."
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