Six interceptions, eight clearances: United rookie justifies van Gaal’s faith

Manchester United youngster Tyler Blackett impressed against Burnley.

Manchester United rookie Tyler Blackett has been one of the early surprises of the Premier League campaign.

The 20-year-old centre-back had never represented the Red Devils’ first-team before the start of this season, but following an impressive pre-season campaign boss Louis van Gaal decided to hand him his full debut in the opening-day 2-1 defeat against Swansea City.

Despite a shaky start, the former England U19 international performed well and subsequently kept his place in van Gaal’s three-man defence for the trip to Sunderland last week.

After another mature showing, Blackett was selected on merit for Saturday’s clash at Burnley and justified the faith his boss has shown in him by putting on his best performance to date.

  TeamPosWon TackleEffective ClearanceInterception WonBall RecoveryFoulsError Lead To ShotAppsMins
Tyler Blackett Man Utd DF 2 8 6 10 2 0 1 90

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Blackett was a defensive rock throughout as he helped his side keep a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw at Turf Moor.

He made a total of two tackles, six interceptions, eight effective clearances and a remarkable ten ball recoveries – five more than United’s next best Phil Jones.

Aside from his defensive duties, the United starlet showed an ability to bring the ball out defence – reminiscent of previous centre-back Rio Ferdinand – and made a total of 79 passes, 25 more than fellow defender Jones.

With the imminent arrival of versatile Dutch international Daley Blind and the return of new signings Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw, it remains to be seen whether Blackett holds down a regular berth in the starting XI.

If his performances to date are anything go by, however, then he certainly has not done his chances of establishing himself as a key figure any harm whatsoever.

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