McNair v Blackett: Revealing who's had the best start to the season

Old Trafford

Comparing the two young Manchester United centre-backs.

While the superstars that arrived at Manchester United this summer stole the headlines, a couple of young defenders who have come through the ranks at Old Trafford are proving to be vital in their own way.

Tyler Blackett started the season as one of three centre-backs in Louis van Gaal's 3-5-2 formation, but following the 21-year-old's sending off against Leicester City and subsequent suspension, there has been a change of formation and a change of personnel.

Paddy McNair may only be 19, but he has settled into United's back-line with confidence, so how has he compared with Blackett so far?

The latter has made four more appearances than McNair, so the only fair way to compare the two would be to look at their averages-per-game.

Blackett averages more outfield blocks and tackles than McNair, who is yet to win any of either. But the younger United defender has made considerably more clearances per game, both with his feet and with his head.

  Pass AccuracyOutfield Blocks per gameTackles per gameClearances per gameHeaded clearances per gameDuels Won per gameAerials Won per gameInterceptions per gameAppsMins
Tyler Blackett 88.02% 0.17 0.67 4.83 3.00 3.00 1.33 2.50 6 462
Patrick McNair 87.23% 0 0 8.50 4.50 1.00 0.50 2.00 2 180

But those are the only two areas where the Northern Irishman has outperformed his teammate so far. Blackett has won more duels, more aerial battle and more interceptions per appearance, leaving McNair with some work to do to reach the level of the player two years his senior.

That said, the younger of the two was picked for the match against Everton when both players were available, and he is beginning to develop a promising partnership with Marcos Rojo, so Blackett may still need to up his game to get back in Louis van Gaal's starting XI.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch