Does Daley Blind still have a future at Manchester United

Starting his career at Ajax, Daley Blind worked his way to the top of the Dutch game winning the Dutch Footballer of the year award in the 2013/14 season. Before going on to put in a string of good performances for the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup and helping the soon to be Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal claim third place.

With the incoming United boss clearly impressed by Blind’s form, he was soon signed for United in September 2014. Although being brought in initially to play as wingback, with then-United manager Van Gaal hoping to implement a new style of football at the club, the Dutchman was used in a number of different positions in his first season, starting several games at left back and being used predominantly as a defensive midfielder. Blind’s intelligence and versatility served as a great asset in his first season at the club, going on to make 29 appearances.

It was the following season however that Blind really started to show the form he demonstrated at Ajax and at the World Cup, playing primarily as a centre-back. With the Dutchman quickly becoming a mainstay in the side and establishing a strong defensive partnership with fellow defender Chris Smalling.  Blind showed great composer on the ball, had an eye for a pass and went to make more appearances than any of his teammates, managing 56 in total and helping United keep 25 clean sheets in all competitions. In the Premier League, Blind made 35 appearances for the club, had a tackle success rate of 71% and averaged 58 passes a game.

However, since the arrival of current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, Blind has struggled for consistency and game time.

Last season Blind made 39 appearances for the club, starting the Europa League final against his former club Ajax and helped lead United to victory. Yet after a strong start to the season, the Dutchman lost his place to the in-form Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, making only 23 Premier League appearances, 11 less than the previous campaign.

This season the Dutchman’s game time has been even more limited and has found himself becoming very much a fringe player, managing only seven Premier League appearances.

Blind lack of game time has led to much speculation around his future and in recent weeks he’s been linked with a move away from United in the summer. Yet despite the persistent media speculation around Blind’s future at the club, United recently triggered a one-year contract extension in the Dutchman’s contract.

At the start of May in his pre-Brighton press conference, Jose Mourinho when asked about the future of Blind and fellow defender Matteo Darmian, that he would like to keep the pair at the club, stating;

“They are part of my plans.”

It’s clear that if Blind is willing to stay next season, such an intelligent and versatile player like him can be a brilliant squad player for Manchester United going forward. At the age of 28, however, Blind might not fancy sitting on the sidelines and may want to seek a move away from the club in search of more regular first-team football.  Yet regardless of whether he wants to stay or go, Daley Blind has always put a shift in when wearing a United shirt and has been a great servant for the club.

Written by Jamie Mackinlay

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