Richard Hercock: Blind date at Old Trafford even left me wanting to see more

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal with two of his new signings Radamel Falcao, left, and Daley Blind.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal with two of his new signings Radamel Falcao, left, and Daley Blind.
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Now before I start writing this column I better get out my tin hat for this does not come easy to a proud Yorkshireman.

But I actually enjoyed my Sunday afternoon last weekend, watching Manchester United on television.

Like football fans nationwide – unless you support the Red Devils – you probably had a snigger at United’s demise since the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson decided the time was right to vacate the throne.

His abdication was perfectly timed as he left his successor David Moyes with a side fortunate to have won the Premier League in Ferguson’s final season. It had reached its sell-by date with players like Rio Ferdinand allowed to drag their careers on and the Old Trafford production line – which is revered for the class of Beckham, Butt, Scholes and the Neville brothers – was running dry.

We have all watched new United chief Louis Van Gaal spend lavish amounts of money to bolster his new team with some record-breaking deals. Six new faces for a cool £150m was United’s response to a shocking season under Moyes which failed to bring European football back to Old Trafford.

Now, as I sat down after my Yorkshire puddings, I was interested to see how Angel Di  María would fare given he is the most expensive player in the English game for a not-to-be-sniffed at £59.7m. Or what about the midfield artistry of Ander Herrera?

And then the rugged defender Marcos Rojo, whom many thought should not have been the only defensive additon made by van Gaal.

The Dutchman could even afford the luxury of naming Radamel Falcao as a substitute such was his embarrassment of riches.

But it was the performance of another new face at Old Trafford, Daley Blind, who caught my eye with an accomplished performance at the base of United’s diamond formation.

The forwards grabbed the headlines in the 4-0 rout of QPR, but Blind was sublime. An indication of class is when someone makes something look so simple, and Blind achieved that.

He was the defensive rock – or No 6 as commentator Patrick Kluivert referred to him – which United have been missing since the glory days of Roy Keane and later Juan Sebastian Veron.

He broke up QPR’s attacks, and played simple passes, allowing the flair of his fellow new signings to shine.

Blind, of course, is no stranger to football fans as he was immense at the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer.

He is the type of player everyone wanted Owen Hargreaves to be, before injuries wrecked his career. Just a shame Blind is not English.

Throw in Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata and United have a wealth of attacking flair which makes them dark horses for the title this year.

Of course, they will encounter far tougher nuts to crack than QPR this season, but Blind offers defensive strength to a back four which I am still not certain about.

Anyway, an enjoyable Sunday afternoon watching that lot from over the Pennines. I’ll get my tin hat.