Everything you need to know about... Daley Blind

Dutch football expert Elko Born spills the beans on the versatile Netherlands star...

The 60 second story

FACT FILE

  • Date of birth: Mar 9, 1990
  • Place of birth: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Position: Defensive midfielder/Left back
  • Height: 5ft 11in
  • Former clubs: Groningen (loan)
  • International: Netherlands; 19 caps, 1 goal
  • Honours: Eredivisie: 2010–11, 11–12, 12–13, 13–14

Daley Blind is the son of Ajax legend Danny Blind, who won the Champions League under Louis van Gaal’s management in 1995. As such, Daley was practically born in Ajax’s stadium, and having played there since the age of four, the Amsterdam-based club’s philosophy is virtually ingrained in his genes. At Ajax, Blind has played as a left-back and defensive midfielder. Playing in the latter position, he won the Dutch Player of the Year Award in the 2013/14 season.

At the World Cup in Brazil, Blind truly rose to prominence. Making the most of Blind’s versatility, Dutch boss Van Gaal used the Ajax man as a left-back, but sometimes moved him to centre-back or the base of midfield. This worked well. During the Netherlands’ opening match against Spain, Blind provided the assist for Robin van Persie’s wonder-goal, and against Brazil Blind even managed to find the net himself.

Why you need to know him

It seems only a matter of time before it’s officially announced the utility man will move to Manchester United, with a fee believed to be in the region of £14 million said to have been agreed between Ajax and the Premier League club. At United, Blind will join former Netherlands boss Van Gaal, who’s desperately trying to reshape his squad after a disappointing start to the season.

Strengths

As a defensive midfielder, Blind likes to break up play and quickly set up new attacks after winning possession. As a left-back, he seems to know exactly when to surge forward and when to stay back. Key in all of this is Blind’s tactical awareness and intelligence; he’s not about brute strength, but more about taking the right action at the right time.

Weaknesses

It could be argued that a defensive midfielder needs to be physically strong and able to launch a good tackle to be succesful in the Premier League. In that regard, Blind might seem a little bit too weak. As a full-back, his lack of pace could pose a problem, as he’ll be facing some of the world’s fastest and trickiest wingers with Manchester United.

They said…

At Ajax, Blind contributed massively to the four consecutive league titles the club has won since 2011. No wonder Ajax manager De Boer was quick to praise his pupil on Ajax TV: "What he does seems simple, but often that is the hardest of all. If you can make the right decisions and stay calm on a top level and under pressure... that’s very difficult. But Daley does those things very well at the moment."

Did you know?

TALENTSPOTTER RATINGS

  • Shooting 7
  • Heading 6
  • Passing 8
  • Tackling 8
  • Pace 6
  • Dribbling 7
  • Creativity 7
  • Work-rate 8

Guus Hiddink has taken over from Van Gaal as manager of the Dutch national team. After Euro 2016, Danny Blind (Daley’s father), who was Van Gaal’s assistant and is now still working with Hiddink, will take over and become head boss. Meanwhile, Daley Blind will work with Van Gaal at Manchester United. It’s like one big family, isn’t it?

What happens next?

At United, manager Van Gaal - who will know Blind well after working with him during the World Cup - will have to decide what exactly to do with his new signing. Will Blind be primarily used as a defender, or will he take up a position in the centre of midfield?

Manchester United seem to need reinforcements in each of these positions, so in that regard the versatile Blind would seem like a wise signing.


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