With Luke Shaw carrying an injury in the past few weeks, Daley Blind has stepped up and put in some promising performances from the left side of the back four. In the last three matches, against Tottenham, Liverpool, and Aston Villa, Blind has shown quality and composure in the absence of Shaw, but is he truly the best option at left back, is Shaw too expensive and promising to leave out of the team?
My answer is yes, for the time being United should stick with Blind at left back however, if Shaw stays fit the position should be his. Luke Shaw has had a somewhat unfortunate start to his United career, carrying an expensive price tag and high expectations, his full potential has been unfulfilled. Shaw has only made 12 appearances in the premier league during his first campaign as a United player, receiving a rating of 6.8 from WhoScored. During his few appearances, Shaw has seemed reluctant to exemplify one of his greatest skills, the ability to attack down the left hand side with pace and take on players one on one. He has rarely utilised one of his greatest tools which has often given him the appearance of a one touch, play it safe kind of guy. He needs confidence, and the only way to gain confidence is by playing, which he has struggled to do in his first season at the club.
Daley Blind always finds a way to get into the team, some may say it is because of his Dutch origin, that Van Gaal has a soft spot for him and will rarely keep him out of the team. Those types of statements may hold some truth however; he has rightfully earned his place in the first eleven. Blind has made 19 appearances in the league, earning a rating of 7 at central mid, and 7.64 at left back from WhoScored. He has completed 88.9% of his passes and scored two goals and provided two assists. Blind has rarely looked off the pace at United, whether at left back, centre-back, left wing back, or centre mid, Blind has shown an ability to control the ball, make good passes, and break up the opposition’s attack. At the moment, with Ander Herrera in magnificent form and Michael Carrick staying fit and playing the solid game that he always does, Blind’s opportunities will be limited at centre mid. Therefore, with his place in the team almost assured, he will deservedly maintain his starting position at left back during this important run of games.
But what will happen in the future, will Luke Shaw be the starting left back next season? If not, who will it be?
My guess would be that Luke Shaw will, if fit; establish the left back position as his own. He is too promising and expensive to keep on the bench, but it does pose questions about who will start in centre midfield. Van Gaal has proved unpredictable so I guess we will have to wait and see what he has up his sleeve.