There is no denying that Daley Blind was Louis Van Gaal’s star pupil.
Having managed and maintained a close relationship with the father of Daley; former Holland captain Danny Blind, Van Gaal had always been a huge part of the United star’s life from a very early age.
Whilst a dozen or so players from their 2014 World Cup squad were linked with moves to Old Trafford, Blind was always the likeliest to make the move as he possessed everything the manager looked for in a player.
Not only is he exceptional on the ball; but the left sided player is extremely composed and able to play in a number of roles at a very high level – yet when Jose Mourinho was appointed as Van Gaal’s successor, it was Blind whose name was top of the pile of expected departures.
Perhaps by replying “no this will be a terrible move” when asked if Louis Van Gaal should leave United by a journalist automatically put him on the back foot.
This could have been perceived as he would be unhappy with the club’s decision to sack Van Gaal and want out also? Or even more damaging that the new manager wouldn’t match up to a guy he has clearly looked up to since early childhood.
Either way and following an impressive Community Shield performance against the Premier League champions Leicester, and an opening day league victory over a Bournemouth side who beat United last season, Blind looks every bit as comfortable under the Mourinho regime as he did with Van Gaal; and as though he is going to remain part of the new boss’ plans for the foreseeable future.
Murmurs that he is too short to play in central defence have lingered for the last eighteen months – but as the only ever present in a very strong United backline last season which boasted the second best goals-conceded record, the Dutch international seems to be winning over any critics he once had – as well as giving his new manager something to think about when it comes to a first choice XI.
Whilst Chris Smalling was perceived as the most important centre-half at the club last term, it doesn’t seem to be the case with the great start made by new bot Eric Bailly.
It was widely believed that Mourinho likes his central defenders to be big, burly ball winners.
This could no doubt be the case when facing strikers like Andy Carroll or Fernando Llorente – but fact remains that Blind appears to be ahead of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones in the pecking order, despite having an obvious height disadvantage.
United opened their season with a 3-1 away win and everybody played well. Mourinho is not known for making many changes, especially when he has a winning formula – so expect Daley Blind to remain at the heart of United’s defence, apparently against all odds.