Chris Smalling was once again in imperious form for Manchester United this weekend in their 3-0 win over Sunderland.
The defender put in a brilliant performance and stopped the visitors in their tracks whenever they came forward. One look at his stats from the game shows how in control Smalling was: he completed 95% of his passes, won 100% of his tackles and 100% of his aerial duels.
That’s an incredible set of a statistics, especially given the fact Smalling was running out of defence sometimes to push forward and add to the attack. It’s indicative of just how much he has improved this season under Louis van Gaal ever since that red card away to Manchester City served as a turning point for him in his career.
Right now, there is no English centre-back playing better than Smalling in the Premier League and he’s been absolutely crucial in United’s strong defensive performances. Heading into Euro 2016 this summer as well, Smalling is playing his way into the England line-up for the tournament in France and rightly so.
He’s turned into a leader this year, somebody who doesn’t shy away from physical contact and somebody who can help those around him play better as well.
Smalling has exceeded everybody’s expectations of him this year but now that it looks like he is receiving the right coaching, he is really starting to blossom.