Chris Smalling has been named in the WhoScored Premier League Team of the Season.
The Englishman had a difficult start to the season at Manchester United, with a first half red card against Manchester City the low point for him.
Yet after Christmas, Smalling’s form rapidly picked up to earn him a regular place in Louis van Gaal‘s starting XI.
Since the beginning of 2015, the 25-year-old has been awarded just one WhoScored rating lower than 7.0, leaving him with an average of 7.35 at the end of the season.
His purple patch for the Red Devils was rewarded in United’s 1-1 draw at home to Arsenal, as van Gaal gave him the captain’s armband. Smalling said he was proud to take be captain for the day in the absence of regular skipper, Wayne Rooney.
Speaking to ManUtd.com, he said: “It was a big honour. When the manager told me the night before, it was always going to be one to look forward to. If we had got the win it would have been a lot nicer to savour, but it was still a proud day for me.”
United are in great need of a centre back and with Smalling’s performances getting better and better, many Reds will feel more positive about the backline than before.
In WhoScored’s team, Smalling is the only United player to feature. Arsenal and Chelsea have the most players in the WhoScored.com Team of the Season, with four players each.
Louis van Gaal will still be looking for a new recruit in defence, with the options aside from Smalling failing to deliver as of yet.
Phil Jones has had a good spell of form recently but Jonny Evans could be on his way out of Old Trafford this summer. Marcos Rojo has been plagued with injury this season but could be joined by fellow Argentine, Nicolas Otamendi who has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester recently.