While Daley Blind has got off to an impressive start to life at Manchester United, the versatile Dutchman insists that it’s still far too soon to make comparisons with club legend Roy Keane.
Blind, 24, won the Dutch Footballer of the Year award last season after helping guide Ajax to their fourth-consecutive Eredivisie title, making most of his 29 league appearances in the holding midfield position.
A starring role at left wing-back for the Netherlands during their run to the World Cup semi-finals this summer would then lead to him reuniting with ex-national team manager Louis van Gaal at United in a £13.8 million deal, where has since been an ever-present in the centre of the park.
His performances earning rave reviews in the process, Blind admits that he’s settled into life at Old Trafford with relative ease, but doesn’t think now is the time to be mentioned in the same breath as the former hard-nosed captain.
‘Let’s not go overboard. It’s going quite well, but we’ve only just started,’ he was quoted in the Independent.
‘I can say I have settled in quite well. In England it is not very usual to start the build-up from behind. United do.
‘This is where my Ajax background becomes useful. Started the build-up there is our second nature.’
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One of Van Gaal’s six summer signings, Blind’s arrival was greeted with less fanfare then the attacking additions of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, but the 21-times capped international has since proved invaluable to the club’s recent turnaround in form, and credits Dutch teammate Robin van Persie with helping him make the transition to English football.
‘I had only just signed for Manchester United when my Twitter account exploded. This club is so huge,’ he said.
‘Sir Bobby Charlton comes into the dressing after every match. Nice to see. He doesn’t say much. He is just there, being that iconic figure of the club.
‘Robin van Persie helped me out a lot in the early stages. Now I hang out with the other players too. We’ve got a nice group of players with the likes of Di Maria and Falcao.
‘World class players but very down-to-earth. Falcao even seems shy when you meet him for the first time. It’s up to me to reach their level. My Ajax background comes in handy there too.
‘I’ve become used to Champions League football, the rhythm of playing every three days. The Premier League is physically very tough, but I can handle it. We’ve got lots of injuries, but I am okay.
‘In England I haven’t had the opportunity to take it easy. Players and fans have one motto: keep going for 90 minutes.’