(REUTERS) - Daley Blind may lack the height and power but the Manchester United midfielder insists he possesses the footballing intelligence to flourish as a centre-back.
Manager Louis van Gaal started the 25-year-old Dutchman alongside Chris Smalling against Tottenham Hotspur in United's Premier League opener, having tried his compatriot out in central defence during pre-season.
United won the game 1-0 thanks to an own goal from Tottenham's Kyle Walker.
Blind was pleased with his performance and the team's clean sheet, and was especially happy about managing to keep the prolific Harry Kane quiet for 90 minutes.
"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," the Blind told the club's website (www.manutd.com).
"I've said many times before that I just want to play," he added. "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 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 said.