“When you get the shirt and a position in the team you don’t want to give it up,” said Smalling. “I understand that Rio is the main man. But when he got injured it was time for me to step up. They are big shoes to fill. Hopefully through my performances and the sort of games and massive occasions I have been playing in, I repay the manager’s faith and justify him playing me. I know I will have to bide my time but I am always going to be ready because no player wants to be sitting on the bench.”
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.