Manchester United midfielder Daley Blind believes he's finally settled at Old Trafford following a £16 million switch from Ajax last summer, but only after struggling with a massive increase in pace and intensity offered by life in the Premier League.
Blind has overcome early struggles and injury problems to be a firmly established starter under Louis van Gaal, a manager he already shared a strong relationship with at international level.
The 24-year-old has readily admitted the step up in class from the Eredivisie early on but the challenge is something he relishes, along with putting down roots in Manchester itself.
Blind shares thoughts
In an interview with Inside United magazine Blind was asked to compare and contrast English football to his experience in Holland, responding: "The biggest difference is the Premier League is played at a much higher tempo.
"In Holland you have some points in a game when you can say ‘okay, let’s have a rest for a few minutes and play the ball around!’. When I played my first games here, I noticed the difference and was a little tired! The tempo is definitely much higher here."
"That’s one of the things I like and also every team in the Premier League is capable of winning against the other team.
"It’s a higher level and higher tempo. In Holland only really four or five teams are fighting with each other [for the title] - there is a big difference with the rest.
Has Blind been good enough?
Blind is an intelligent player prepared to put in the hard work for others to shine in midfield, but the jury is still out over whether United need a more dominant presence in that key position to be serious title contenders once again.
That's not to say Blind's versatility and eye for the odd important goal couldn't be a valuable asset to Van Gaal, but perhaps not as a certain starter every single week.
United certainly have far more pressing concerns than Blind's form, the terrible displays offered up by Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie for one, but long-term the search for a world-class central midfielder should remain a priority for Red Devils transfer chiefs.
Man United fans, do you think Daley Blind is good enough to start in midfield at Old Trafford every week? Let us know by sharing your thoughts in the comment box below.
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