“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.”
To mark the anniversary of United winning the Treble with a team that had academy products at the core, Made in Manchester is available for just £3 for today only. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.