Tyler Blackett signs new Manchester United contract until 2017

Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett has signed a new contract at Old Trafford, committing himself to the club until 2017, with boss Louis van Gaal tipping him for greatness.

And Reece James has also agreed to extended his stay at Old Trafford as, following deals for Paddy McNair and Jesse Lingard, United have now given four new contracts to players Van Gaal has promoted.

United confirmed on their Twitter account that the Blackett, 20, had put pen to paper on a deal that includes the option to extend for another year.

The Manchester-born defender, who can play at left-back or centre-back, joined the club's academy in 2002 and has spent loan spells at Championship clubs Blackpool and Birmingham.

He made his competitive debut on the opening day of the Premier League season when he played the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 defeat after impressing Van Gaal on a preseason tour of the U.S.

The manager told United's official website he believed Blackett could go on and become an outstanding player for United.

"I am delighted that Tyler has signed a new contract," he said.

"He is another young player that has risen through the academy system to break into the first-team squad this season.

"Tyler has great potential, and I believe he is at the right club to continue his development and progression to become a great defender."

Blackett said: "I'm thrilled to have signed my new contract.

"I have supported United all my life and have been here since I was eight years old. To come through the academy and make my debut this season was a dream come true.

"I want to keep improving within the first-team squad with the help of the manager, coaches and the players around me."

Blackett's new contract follows a similar deal for another young defender, McNair, who also signed until 2017 in a move that gives the club the chance to keep him for a further 12 months.

Both players' previous contracts were due to expire this summer and both have benefited from opportunities after Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Alexander Buttner and Michael Keane left Old Trafford while other established defenders suffered from injuries.

Blackett had spent loan spells with Blackpool and Birmingham last season before impressing Van Gaal on the preseason tour of the United States.

Left-sided wing-back James also excelled in America, when he scored twice against LA Galaxy, but his only first-team game came in the 4-0 defeat to Milton Keynes Dons in the Capital One Cup.

He was loaned to Championship side Rotherham in November but his new contract is a sign Van Gaal believes he has a future at Old Trafford.