Daley Blind and Louis Van Gaal Win Major Dutch Awards After Deadline Transfer

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2014

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 12: Daley Blind of the Netherlands (R) celebrates scoring his team's second goal with Robin van Persie and head coach Louis van Gaal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Third Place Playoff match between Brazil and the Netherlands at Estadio Nacional on July 12, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Before the ink had even dried on the contract Daley Blind signed to join Manchester United in this transfer window, he and manager Louis van Gaal were back in their native Holland to receive domestic awards.

Blind signed for United for £14 million on deadline day, per The Guardian. That meant he reunited with former international team boss Van Gaal.

The pair were honoured for their efforts with the Netherlands soon after, per Daily Mail reporter Jack Gaughan:

Blind, who has cost United £14million from Ajax, picked up the Golden Shoe at the Dutch Player of the Year awards.

He was followed on stage by his new manager - at club level, anyway - who was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his services to the game.
Van Gaal looked in circumspect mood as he addressed the audience at the gala in Hilversum after a tricky start to his tenure in Manchester.

Both awards were fitting recognition for what the pair have meant to Dutch football, both in the past and the present. Blind has been a key part of the Ajax teams that won the last four Eredivisie titles.

He collected his award with father Danny, a UEFA Champions League winner with Ajax in the 1994-95 campaign. That team was managed by Van Gaal and stands as the last great Ajax squad, littered with impressive young talent from both domestic and foreign shores.

Since his time at Ajax, Van Gaal has also won titles with FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich. In between, he returned to the Netherlands in 2005 with AZ Alkmaar and won the Eredivisie again in 2009.

Most recently, Van Gaal guided the national team to the semi-final stage of the World Cup. Although his team lost on penalties to Argentina, the squad did earn a third-place finish by beating host nation Brazil.

Blind was a vital figure in Van Gaal's squad as an ultra-versatile defender in the manager's preferred 3-5-2 formation. He operated as a left wing-back in the formation United have so far struggled to adapt to.

But Blind can also be deployed at centre-back or as a defensive midfielder. It's the latter position where he makes the most sense for United.

Blind can can play an anchoring role at the base of a new-look and attack-minded midfield that must also make room for playmakers Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria.

The 24-year-old earned special praise from BBC guest pundit Thierry Henry after the Dutch destroyed Spain 5-1 to begin the World Cup, per HITC Sport writer Alan Dawson:

There is nothing more to say - I'm shocked… the Dutch owned it. That was the final we wanted to see four years ago and the man of the match was Blind.

The way he played… he did it all to a tee. Whatever van Gaal asked him to do, he did more.

Blind supplied a memorable assist for United striker Robin van Persie's early equaliser in that game. Now Van Gaal will be hoping that connection will inspire similar results at Old Trafford.

The new Red Devils boss hasn't won in four competitive matches at the helm. But in Blind he's signed a tactically flexible and technically assured player who will surely help fix some of United's woes in defensive areas.

The Old Trafford faithful will hope these aren't the only awards Van Gaal and Blind pick up this season.