In a summer where Manchester United have bought Anthony Martial for £36 million and sold Angel Di Maria for £44 million, the media have failed to mention anything about the old guard.
Daley Blind signed for United in August, 2014 so it seems bizarre that he is an old name at United. The transitional phase of Van Gaal has seen the arrival of Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Depay, Martial and several others since Blind arrived.
In the opening five fixtures of the season, Blind has outshone everybody else in a United shirt. His delightful finish in the 3-1 victory over Liverpool was hardly mentioned in the aftermath of the result. It is no surprise, as Christian Benteke scored a world-class bicycle-kick and Martial inflicted flashbacks to Thierry Henry.
Blind has fulfilled his role as the unnoticed cog that make United tick. He has managed to become a consistently great player that is never addressed or mentioned by the press. His United career is characterized by his transfer. Blind arrived four days after Di Maria broke the British transfer record so he could slide into United with a side-note type headline from Sky Sports stating: “Transfer News: Daley Blind joins Manchester United from Ajax.”
According to Squawka statistics, he has been Man of the Match in three of United’s opening five games of the season. The Dutchman averages nine defensive actions per game, which highlights the unseen part of his exceptional game that nobody seems to notice. Blind has an average passing accuracy of 90% in the first five games and has completed 237 successful passes.
Blind made eight clearances against Liverpool playing in the centre-back position. He made more than both Chris Smalling and Dejan Lovren despite not even being conceived as a natural centre-back. At 5ft 10ins, Blind was dwarfed by a 6ft 2ins Benteke for the entire game. These physical factors are inapplicable when describing Blind’s weaknesses as his positional intelligence leaves strikers lagging behind his brain.
There is no other centre-back in the Premier League that could have scored a goal as majestically as Blind did against Liverpool. He caressed the ball into the top-left corner with the finesse of a striker. United will hope that the media continue to focus their attentions on Depay, Martial and Rooney rather than the maestro that is spearheading their charge to success.