Garth Crooks: Chris Smalling overcame psychological trauma during Manchester derby

by Marwan Harraz

Garth Crooks has lauded Chris Smalling for overcoming psychological trauma during the Manchester derby as he scored the winner against Manchester United’s fierce rivals.

The Englishman started the hugely anticipated match and incurred the wrath of the fans after being at fault for Manchester City’s opener.

United were keeping up with Pep Guardiola’s men for 25 minutes in the first half before Smalling lost Vincent Kompany during a corner in which he grabbed his club’s first goal.

The former Fulham man though picked himself up alongside the rest of his teammates in the second half and scored the winner to secure a stunning comeback win that ended 3-2 in Jose Mourinho‘s favour.

Crooks believes Chris deserves plenty of credit for turning his game around and not allowing his error to get to his head.

According to the Sport Review, Garth wrote in his column for BBC Sport: “Chris Smalling gets in my team of the week for his sheer mental strength. Having been mowed down by Vincent Kompany for City’s first goal, Smalling gathered himself and produced a performance of a lifetime.

“I’ve seen defenders disintegrate in games of such importance after such a high-profile mistake, but not Smalling.

“The England centre-back overcame the obvious psychological trauma, dug in and produced a fantastic winning goal. Sometimes you get what you deserve in football.”

Chris Smalling may have saved the day against City but there are still huge question marks over his future with the Red Devils.

Mourinho currently has five out and out central defenders in a formation that typically uses just two so some supporters have claimed there’s bound to be someone who’s sold.

Marcos Rojo, Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof represent the club’s current options in the typically used 4-2-3-1 formation.

With the Argentine recently securing a contract and both the Ivorian and Swede being brought into the club by Jose himself that only leaves the two Englishman.

Jones has show more consistency under the Portuguese manager while Chris has reported to be the more disposable player of the two.

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