"I felt pleased for Rio. He's a good guy, with lots of experience and a real leadership quality. He's also a superb player," said Blanc.
The Frenchman revealed his influence on United's current defence during his time at Old Trafford.
"I had a few ideas. In the first few sessions we had specifically on defending, I contributed some ideas. It led to improvements. At the beginning some of the players were not so keen, but we got into the habit of dedicated sessions on defending, practising different scenarios.
"I think that was of some benefit for the players, and the young players, like John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Phil Neville, and Rio, who was young but had a lot of experience. England has always had had defenders with great qualities, great commitment, but there was a time when English players did not have the same tactical training as elsewhere."
"He has such good instincts about the relationships between players, understanding how they work, knows exactly how to deal with them, how they will respond to situations."