Manchester United Under-21s defender Tyler Blackett speaks to us about making his mark at Old Trafford...
How happy are you with your progress at the start of the season?
It is pleasing to have broken through into the first team on tour but, right now, I’m focusing on doing well with the Under-21s this season and seeing what happens with that. It was a great experience for me on tour.
Playing on tour was a good way to cap last season for you…
Last season, I was doing my bit in the FA Youth Cup. We had a good run but didn’t quite make the final. It helped playing in the Cup for a second year [Blackett was in the team that won it in 2011]. I was more experienced and more relaxed this time. I had some Reserves action too [last season]; I hope to be a regular for them this term. The Reserves was a step up, playing against bigger, stronger players, it was more of a test for me. I played on the wing at Sunderland just to get more experience in a different position and show my versatility.
How long have you been here?
I was seven when I came to United and I signed at eight. I was born and raised in Manchester so I’m a United fan. It’s my local club, and this is where I want to be.
Does it help having other local lads who’ve been here as long?
It’s good to see Jesse Lingard, Larnell Cole and Ryan Tunnicliffe making progress. They’re only a year older than me so it’s good to see what they’re doing.
Are you happier at left-back or centre-back?
I’m comfortable with either but, right now, left-back is more my priority.
You have shown you can chip in with some goals too…
Paul [McGuinness] has got me taking free-kicks and I’m trying to improve them. I hope to take more in the Under-21s.
You were all taught your skills by Rene Meulensteen. Has he been a big influence on you?
Rene coached us at Under-12 level, I think – we did lots of skills sessions. It shows in a lot of our players, with the good feet they’ve got. You don’t even