Blackett or McNair - who has impressed the most this season?

Manchester United 3

The two Manchester United youngsters have been rewarded with new contracts this month.

Few Manchester United fans would have predicted the role both Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have had for the Old Trafford club this season.

With McNair having made 12 appearances and Blackett nine, it is clear that Louis van Gaal rates both youngsters. 

Fresh from McNair's new contract earlier in the month, United have announced that fellow young defender Blackett has also agreed fresh terms, and now the two academy graduates are signed on to Van Gaal's project until at least 2017.

The 20-year-old Englishman made his debut in the opening day defeat to Swansea City as a result of desperate shortages in defence, going on to start the first five Premier League games before a sending off curtailed his first team spell.

Blackett's suspension opened up the door for Northern Ireland youngster McNair, and the 19-year-old has seemed to have edged ahead of his teammate, having made more appearances despite making his debut later on.

Below we look at the statistics from the two players, and speculate who is looking the brighter prospect.

  TeamPassing AccuracyInterception WonEffective Blocked CrossWon TackleAppearancesMins Played
Tyler Blackett Man Utd 85.42% 17 3 8 9 623
Patrick McNair Man Utd 84.38% 18 4 12 12 756

Though McNair has three more appearances than Blackett, that only equates to 133 minutes more action, leaving the two players with a relatively similar amount of time on the pitch. With the Northern Irishman the more versatile, having played portions of his youth career as a midfielder, it is surprising to see Blackett with marginally the better passing percentage. The two players have similar stats for interceptions and blocking crosses, which has to go in favour of Blackett seeing as though he has played less, but McNair has won four more tackles than his teammate.

Aerial WonDuel Won
Tyler Blackett Man Utd 4 42 13 30
Patrick McNair Man Utd 10 54 12 36

McNair is ahead of Blackett when it comes to both clearing the ball effectively and winning duels for possession, but the Englishman, the taller of the two players at 6'2", unsurprisingly inches his fellow defender in aerial duels. Blackett has also been dribbled past fewer times, though that may be as a result of McNair featuring at right-back the last couple of games.

Though McNair has managed to stay in and around the first team more than Blackett in recent weeks, it is clear that both players are demonstrating serious promise and more than deserve a new deal. It is likely next season will be the real teller as to which youngster can really solidify their long-term position at Old Trafford.

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