Louis van Gaal's decision to hand Daley Blind a role at centre-back for Manchester United now appears to have been an inspired one.
Following his move from Ajax, the Dutch international enjoyed a steady debut campaign for the Red Devils last season.
Playing at both defensive midfield and left-back, the versatile ace quickly introduced himself as an important squad player under the Van Gaal regime.
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However, he has now established himself as a key man at Old Trafford. And, surprisingly, it's at the heart of the club's defence. Understandably, fans and pundits alike questioned Van Gaal's decision to hand his compatriot such a key role.
Seven Premier League games in - with United sitting at the summit of the division - Blind has been one of the club's standout performers. The Red Devils have the joint best defensive record in the league and the understanding of Blind and Chris Smalling appears to be improving with every passing week.
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With the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Co. protecting the club's back-line, Van Gaal's side no longer appear to be vulnerable at the back.
The defensive midfielders have certainly helped, but the duo of Blind and Smalling should take great credit for the club's success in the opening couple of months of the season.
Today's clash may well have come against basement boys Sunderland, but Blind was once again in terrific form. He didn't put a foot wrong during the routine win at the Theatre of Dreams and he provided a moment of sheer class to help the club make the breakthrough moments before the half-time whistle.
The Dutchman's ball over the top to Juan Mata was one of perfection and quality. Ultimately, Mata - who scored United's third and final goal - slid the ball across for Memphis Depay to notch his first Premier League strike.
Memphis will no doubt hog the headlines, but Blind deserves just as many plaudits. He has a touch of class about him and can even provide in terms of goals and assists. His strike against Liverpool a couple of weeks back was rather special and he will no doubt score another couple of important goals throughout the course of the season.
Of course, with the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Co. on the horizon, greater tests await for the versatile ace, but there's no reason why he won't come out the other side and continue to prove his early critics wrong.
Brilliant on the ball, he's the perfect player to help the Red Devils ease their way up the field. He's certainly not in the same mould as the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, who have gone before him, but United are a different team altogether these days.
Under Van Gaal, the Red Devils are a patient and well-drilled side. Every player has a job to do in the United team and Blind is most definitely doing his.
Manchester United fans: What do you think of Blind's start to the season? Have your say below!
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