Chris Smalling now feels like he is completely over a broken toe injury which saw him sidelined for a couple of months and insists he is raring to go again for Manchester United.
Smalling was one of Man United’s best players last season under Louis van Gaal but injuries have hampered his season so far under Jose Mourinho. In particular, it was his performance in the 4-0 loss to Chelsea which raised questions and saw him criticised directly by Mourinho prior to his broken toe injury being revealed.
With Eric Bailly at the African Cup of Nations we’re likely to see plenty of Smalling in January and he can’t wait to get back into a run of games.
“It was during the Fenerbahce game when I came off at half time,” Smalling said.
“I did it then and obviously you try to carry on in games after. Then you just have to sort of give in and it needed the rest, and now I am back and I have no problems.
“I had the knock and then I had a long couple of months but then I got it right and now it is fine. It’s a case of getting back into a rhythm and showing consistent performances.
“It is good to be back. I have been training for over a week now, I am feeling very good and I am looking forward to getting into a rhythm. I think there is an opportunity there and, hopefully, I think it’s just a case of who can grab it and get that consistency to stay in that line-up.”
It’s certainly good news for United that Smalling is now back in the groove. Looking past that abysmal performance away at Chelsea, he was our best centre-back on paper coming into the start of the season. Obviously since then Bailly, Jones and Rojo have all excelled but let’s not forget how good Smalling was last year.
The biggest question mark around Smalling is whether or not van Gaal’s system was so defensive it made him look better than he was. That’s something many fans claim but is yet to be justified, now it looks like we’ll get to see whether those thoughts are substantiated.
For me, I’m glad to have Smalling back as it gives United options in defence. Rojo may have overcome his injury in time to face Hull City tonight but having choices makes our squad stronger, especially with us now competing in four competitions and I do expect Smalling to get plenty of game time.