Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Smalling Ready to Replace Ferdinand

Chris Smalling, Smalling ready to replace Ferdinand, manchester united, ManUtd, United's Defender

United fans could be forgiven for forgetting that two new players were on the club's pre-season tour, such was the excitement about Javier Hernandez's goalscoring start to life as a Red.

But at six feet five inches tall, Chris Smalling is not used to being overshadowed and there were signs that he could too emerge as a great acquisition. United legend Paddy Crerand kept a close eye on the former Fulham defender during the tour and noted his contributions at both ends of the pitch.

"If Smalling does play in the first team, he will be a threat at corner kicks because he is six feet five tall, he's good in the air. He's quite willing to go and put his head in there," said Crerand on his weekly programme for MUTV.

The new centre-back notched his first goal for the Reds with a brave header against Chivas in Mexico, a goal that cancelled out Chicharito's poetic opener for the home side. He enjoyed the moment and will hope for more as his United career moves on.

"I was more surprised than anything, I didn't have a mad celebration," Smalling told MUTV.

Any additions from Smalling would therefore be welcome but first he will have to concentrate on the day job - and climb the pecking order for places.

"He's only 20, so he's a kid really," continued Crerand, " and it was a big step up for him to play all the games on tour at United's standard. I think Sir Alex gave Smalling all those games on tour to get his confidence up and try and fit him into the team.

"Sometimes when you go into the first team at a young age and you don't know any of the players, you can be a little bit shy at times and not want to say anything. But when you've played a few games, you have to speak, particularly if you're a central defender. You have to take responsibility.

"Smalling did alright on tour but Jonny Evans is obviously ahead of him, as are Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic of course."

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