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Smalling: Manchester Is More Chilled Out Than London

Chris Smalling has revealed how easily he has settled in to life at Manchester United and how playing in more games helps him feel like he belongs.

“A lot of the young lads have been here for a long time,” he said. “I only came here in the summer and I wasn’t at Fulham for too long, so I have surprised myself how settled I have become. Manchester is quite different to London. It is a bit more chilled out up here and I only live five minutes from the training ground, so everything is nice and easy. A lot of my family come up quite often too, so on a personal level I feel really at ease. And the more games I play in, the more I feel like I belong here. I really feel good at the moment.”

Smalling has also hailed the education he is receiving from Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

“Vidic has had the biggest impact this season on us,” he continued. “That is why we have been so solid at the back so to have the chance to play with him is a massive boost for me. He is one of the world’s best central defenders so to get the chance to learn my trade next to him is invaluable. He is always talking to me, which makes my job a lot easier when I step into the team. His partnership with Rio Ferdinand is something I admired from afar so that chance to train with them each day and interact with them allows me to pick up bits and pieces of information, which is a real bonus. It is a big step for me. I am still improving but am trying to learn from all those experiences and kick on.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Brady21 says:

    I live literally 5 minutes from the training ground too. Wonder if he lives near me

  2. RedScot says:

    He is a class act, he not only is growing and improving with each game at United, he acknowledges the senior players at United, his peers.! Where you learn your trade.
    I hate it when, and makes me feel Uncle Dick,”what’s the point” of dismissing, ridiculing a youngster.
    This is Manchester United, built through youth and encouraging emerging talent.
    Keep it up, your progress Chris. Gonna be a star mate.

  3. Kings says:

    Keep up the good work Chris.

  4. FletchTHEMAN says:

    This is what United is about. Recognizing that pieces of the puzzle don’t have to be bought and accepted for what they are.
    At United we buy potential, then nurture and craft the lad to grow into a role that even they might not have dreamed possible.

    Maybe both can be successful (Ajax vs Virus).
    But nurturing a lot and buying a little has worked fairly well for us. Has done for 60+ years.

  5. The United Way says:

    The United Way bears fruit again.

  6. AlphaRS says:

    Good lad. This is The United Way. One big family.

  7. willierednut says:

    Of course It’s more chilled out, It’s Manchester, where all the cool people live lol.

  8. McQueen says:

    Vidic is even better this year which I wouldn’t have thought possible! Seems to really have taken to the captaincy and is relishing the responsibility. “He is always talking to me” – good man Vida, and listen up Chris cos you’re learning from the masters.

  9. Natural Red says:

    Chris has impressed me on how well he’s settled at United.When he is given a chance to shine he takes his chances well and gives a good account of himself.

    He seems a lively prospect and I’m sure will return outstanding performances for the faith that has been invested in him.

    Good on ya mate !

  10. KingOfStretfordEnd says:

    He’s a mini-Rio. Not so mini though, lol.

  11. Ash says:

    For sure smalling and evans are our future central defending pair..Smalling will be our number 1 defender in next 2 years.He is class.He has leadership quality also.Great buy from the master fergie.
    As far as evans goes dont underrate this guy.He has loads of talent and his temperament is great.He is just 22-23 and has already played 80 games for us.
    I have to say our defencive line up for the future is looking great.
    Rafael evans smalling Fabio,

  12. catotraa says:

    Yeah, it does! Look at teams like Chelsea, what do they have of a future backline now? David Luiz, ok. Ivanovic will also most likely last a bit longer, and that Van Aanholt(am i right?)guy is looking fairly ok. But what we got is a bunch of kids that already have about.. what? 200 games all in all? And they are still to reach their peaks and play week in week out!

    Future is bright!

  13. Saad says:

    I’m still uncertain as to whether this guy should model himself into a sweeper-type (like Rio) or a muscle-type (like Vida) centre-back. He has the speed of Rio but the physical structure of Vida (big and tall).

  14. kanchelskis says:


    Rio is taller than Vidic!

  15. Saad says:


    For me the jury is still out on Evans… not just out but out on a long vacation to Mars! I am far from convinced about Jonny. I want him to do well but what I’ve seen of him in the past 12 months is discouraging. He is nervous with the ball, he is not assertive and he loses concentration at times during the match.

  16. Saad says:


    I never said anything about Vida being shorter than Rio. But Vida is nevertheless a pretty big guy (6’2″) and is physically tougher than Rio, which is why he’s the always takes on the aerial challenges and the physically stronger forwards.

  17. kanchelskis says:


    Well then I don’t know why you say Smalling’s physical structure is more like that of Vida?

  18. Saad says:


    Perhaps that phrase about his physical structure was ambiguous. I meant that Smalling has the kind of upper body structure needed for defenders like Vida.

  19. kanchelskis says:



    Personally I always envisaged him as more of a Rio type. He seems calm, collected, good with the ball at his feet. A brain rather than brawns defender. But we’ll see, I guess!

  20. Saad says:


    That’s what makes him so much of an enigma for me. When I first heard about his signing, I read up on him and looked at some photos. He’s listed at 6’5″ which is as big as many NBA basketball players. So I expected him to be this physical beast in the back. But after seeing him play, I’m surprised by his speed and, as you said, calmness with the ball at his feet.

  21. Redbeard says:

    Vidic is “one of” the best centre backs in the world??

  22. smartalex says:

    My red lenses show Vidic to be the 2nd best centre back in the world. Rio is 1st.

  23. King Eric says:

    Great second half performance by the reserves. Knig is developing into a beast of a lad and a superb striker. When Morrison came on though he stood out a country mile. Naturally gifted as fuck and was involved in everything controlling the game almost. He HAS got to sort his head out as this lad can become a star. Brambys lad doesnt look bad either!

  24. King Eric says:


  25. King Eric says:

    Sorru these posts arent on topic but I have made my feeling s known about Chris. A top lad who seems very level headed. Composed on the ball and brings it out of defence. Will be a class act for years to come.

    Anyway I forgot to mention we may have another midfieder right under our noses. Fabio Da Silva. He was superb last night and was all over the pitch. Topped off with a cracking goal.

  26. Paul Parker says:

    @King Eric, I gotta watch more Reserve Football.

    Blame the pace of Life in London Chris, theres not even time to scratch your arse.
    Manchester’s a solid City.

  27. Koss says:

    Fantastic smalling

  28. willierednut says:

    Paul Parker – There’s time to scratch your balls lol.

  29. sports24x says:

    going great smalling..

  30. Dave Malaysia says:

    Chris is a Rio replacement in the future,similiarity between then exists but of course every player is different. Sometimes Chris reminds me of Pique ,in the manner he moves .

    Evans is going thru a rough spell,how he deals with it and coming out stronger mentally will help him in his maturity. He is simliar to Vidic.

    Fergie has done well,he has 2 young central defenders that he trusts and has given them battles to prove themselves and they have. When Evans was struggling ,he was taken out of the firing line.
    Fergie will manage both the right way.So Fergie has sorted out Vidic and now he is our Captain,sorting out Rio now and if it has the same outcome as Vidic ,we are looking at a partnership at least for the next 3 years, with Chris/Evans as backup and eventual first choice central defenders.

    @King Eric 11.27 : I got some unhappy responses when I explained about the Da Silvas.Thanks for yr observations dude. I think the same too that Fabio has been playing in different roles and his midfeild performances for the reserves stand out.

    The Silvas were wingers when we signed them,thier club was unhappy so they stopped playing them. The Brazil coach then turned the boys into wingbacks.Fabio was the captain and scored lots of goals.People said he was so good better than Rafael a bit.
    When they arrived at Manutd ,Rafael turned into a brilliant RB, Fabio struggle with injuries and did not do so well defensively.

    So I will say it again the Silvas might be playing on the wings for us in the future.Fabio certainly in on that path already. That wud be awesome, their workrate will blow teams apart.


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