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Why Daley Blind remains a key player for Manchester United this season

This season for Daley Blind was always going to important one as he entered the final year of his contract at Old Trafford. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really gone according to plan. He has not been able to hold down a place in the United side apart from appearances in the Champions League and domestic cups where Mourinho has been resting players.

It is something that even led to the Dutchman’s future being thrown into doubt over the recent transfer window. Roma were said to be in the hot seat to sign the 27-year-old but only wanted to sign him on loan, whereas United were only willing to let him go on a permanent basis. Eventually, he stayed at Old Trafford, at least until the end of the season, but he can be a real asset both on and off the field, so him staying could turn out to be a real blessing.

When the Dutchman arrived in Manchester back in 2014, he arrived as a man who had just helped his national country, Netherlands, claim third place at the World Cup, where he starred underneath the leadership of incoming United boss Louis van Gaal. He was brought in at United to act predominantly as a wing-back, as Van Gaal was looking to enforce a new style, but for much of the season, he was used as a defensive midfielder. His utility and his versatility to play in a number of positions was a real asset to the team for the first few seasons.

However, it was his time spent in the centre of the defence that really caught the eye. He brought his skills to read the game and make tackles along with the ball playing abilities of a centre midfielder that made him very useful as a centre-back. He quickly established a partnership with Chris Smalling towards the end of the 2015/16 season and started last season strongly until he lost his place, to Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.

The Dutchman has barely featured this season, much down to the form of the players who play in his position and the purchases of such players as Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic. That has limited the Dutchman to just five appearances in the league this season, at a time of his career where Blind should be hoping to be playing week in week out.

However, his versatility to play in a number of positions could prove to be of great importance towards the end of the season where injuries are inevitable, with the reds battling on three separate fronts. He will be able to cover at left-back, which has been a problem area for United this season, as well as centre-back and centre midfield.

He will also offer great experience and composure whilst playing alongside youngsters, like Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford. As well as versatility and experience he brings a winning mentality that will be vital when entering the later stages of competitions this season, as United attempt to secure trophies.

Whether the last few months of the season will be the last of Blind’s career at Old Trafford remains to be seen, but he will be a player who could prove to be a crucial squad player, and someone who I feel could still be an asset for Mourinho, for years to come.

Written by Dan Pearce

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