Smalling has been in superb form for a number of months now under the tutelage of van Gaal.
The Englishman has steadily been earning more and more plaudits for his displays and he is now considered to be one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.
Smalling insisted van Gaal’s guidance has given him the belief to push on at Old Trafford.
“I think he is a very experienced manager,” Smalling said.
“He says a lot of things that I try to take on board and I think he wants you to express yourself. When he shows that trust, I just want to repay it and do as well as I can. But yes, he has given me massive credit.”
Smalling’s early career at United was hampered by injury and being played out of position but an extended run in the starting XI in central defence has seen the player flourish. As well as Smalling, van Gaal has improved the likes of Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini during his time in charge of the club. Long may it continue.