Chris Smalling Pleased With His Big-Game Form

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is pleased with how he has performed in the big matches this season. The England international has not always been a favourite among the club’s supporters but his form since February has been impressive with a couple of match-defining goals along the way.

The centre-back has been part of United’s winning side in the games against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur in 2018 but his best performance of the lot undoubtedly came against the latter. United secured a 2-1 win over Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday and following the game, Smalling was pleased to have kept Harry Kane quiet on the day.

He said:“I love my battles against ‘H’ (Kane). I don’t think he’s scored too many against me, so long may that continue!” said Chris after the game. It’s nice testing yourself against the best because certainly this year he’s been one of the best. That’s our job, to test ourselves against the best and it’s nice to shut him out. All I can do is play the games and at the minute I’m playing every game and performing in big games, so I’ll just keep doing my job.”

With a string of impressive performances, Smalling is likely to offer Gareth Southgate with a selection headache ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Russia. Southgate has picked the likes of Harry Maguire and James Tarkowski ahead of Smalling in recent Three Lions squad but the defender’s present form is likely to urge the manager to re-assess his players prior to the global tournament.

Alongside Smalling, Phil Jones earned a rare start after his prolonged hamstring absence, but he managed to repay the faith of Jose Mourinho in the Cup semi-final against Spurs. Likewise his compatriot, Jones has been out of contention for the national team due to niggles but he has a good chance of making the World Cup squad.