The 20-year old centre-back has started all four of United’s Premier League games this season and has looked assured in all of them bar a few hairy moments expected of a young defender thrown in at the deep end.
The club’s lack of progress in signing a defender fast-tracked Blackett into the first team and further injuries to Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have meant Blackett has played a key part in United’s start to the season.
“Blackett is maybe the surprising one but he’s doing very well,” Van Gaal said this afternoon.
After an unconvincing loan spell at Birmingham City last season, it’s been a pleasant surprise for United fans to see another club youth product playing regularly and Blackett’s also been rewarded for his good form on the international stage, making his England Under-21s debut earlier this month.
Blackett’s performances have been particularly impressive given he has had to play with different defensive partners and adapt his game to several systems already during a short 2014/15 campaign.
The first three games Blackett played on the left side of a back three alongside Phil Jones and Chris Smalling with Ashley Young as the left wing-back but moved into a back two alongside Jonny Evans against QPR with new signing Marcos Rojo making his debut at left-back.