Manchester United player Daley Blind has urged Louis van Gaal to give him an extended period in the first eleven as a centre-back, where he started in their first game against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Dutchman was brought into the squad as a replacement for Marcos Rojo, who is still working on his fitness, following his exertions in the Copa America 2015, which ended in July. Blind is unlikely to be a starter should the manager have the whole squad at his disposal and he is looking to make full use of this opportunity to cement his position in the team.
Primarily deployed as a defensive midfielder, United currently have Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger who can play that holding role alongside Michael Carrick, while Luke Shaw's performance at left-back is unlikely to lose him any admirers.
Van Gaal has been heavily criticised by fans for his decision to persist with Blind over signing a standalone defender, but the 25-year-old is insistent that the faith reposed in him by the manager will not backfire on the team as he is smart enough to complete his duties alongside Chris Smalling, who was chosen ahead of an injured Phil Jones.
"I've said many times before that I just want to play," he told United's official website. "If you see what everyone can add to the team, then it's a real battle for places and everyone had to fight for a position.
"I got a chance on this occasion and I tried my best. Of course, people always say I don't have the height or the power but I think I'm clever enough and smart enough.
"If you see our opponent [Harry Kane], he's very good; he wins a lot of headers and duels in the striking position so it's not only about power and force. I think we did well at the back, together with Chris, Luke [Shaw] and Matteo [Darmian] and we get a clean sheet so I was happy," he added.