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Tyler Blackett: Who is the Manchester United youngster?

Louis van Gaal will give defender, 20, his debut against Swansea
  • @Tom_Sheen

Eyebrows were raised when Louis van Gaal named his starting XI for the Premier League opener against Swansea this morning.

Van Gaal's first game in English football has seen him hand a Manchester United debut to 20-year-old local lad Tyler Blackett.

The Dutch coach, who will play the same 3-5-2 formation that took the Netherlands all the way to the World Cup semi-final, said yesterday that his squad was lacking, but this is a shock move from the experienced coach.

With Jonny Evans missing through injury, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are the only two centre-backs with first team experience in the United squad after the club decided not to renew the contracts of long-serving first-choice pair Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

Louis van Gaal has made the shock decision to start the youngster

Those two have more than 750 combined appearances for United; Blackett has just 13 Championship appearances to his name in one season in senior football.

Blackett has been with United since he was eight. He is left-footed, stands 6ft 2in and is quick, playing much of his career as a left-back. He is extremely comfortable on the ball and has even played for United's Under-21s on the left-wing.

When Van Gaal came into the club he saw Blackett more of a centre-back than as a full-back, playing the youngster in every one of United's six pre-season matches on the left of the back three.

He completed 90 minutes twice and played at least a half in the four other matches.

Last season he had spells at both Blackpool, where he played five matches, and Birmingham City, where he played eight times, in the Championship, mainly operating as a left-back.

Blackett had loan spells at Blackpool and Birmingham last season

He has played for England at every level from Under-16 to Under-19.