Manchester United encourage Chris Smalling to be more vocal

Sir Alex Ferguson has already expressed his delight at Chris Smalling's introduction to life at Manchester United. Now he wants the defender to start shouting at his team-mates.

Smalling started his seventh consecutive game for United at Old Trafford on Saturday when he anchored a beleaguered defence in the 1-0 Barclays Premier League win over Bolton.

It continued an incredible debut season with the Red Devils for the 21-year-old, who has confounded low summer expectations about the number of games he would play after arriving from Fulham.

However, it is not just the volume of matches that has taken Smalling by surprise. He has also had to assume far more responsibility.

With Rio Ferdinand missing for chunks of the campaign and skipper Nemanja Vidic also falling victim to United's defensive injury curse, Smalling cannot afford to let others dictate to him, which is why Ferguson and his coaching staff are urging the Londoner to let his team-mates know he is around.

"The coaching staff want me to start expressing myself a bit more," said Smalling.

"They think I am a bit quiet on the pitch. But it is starting to come. With more games I am sure that confidence will come across.

"At set-pieces in particular you have to be a figurehead when you are in central defence.

"You have to dictate and make sure people are marking. I have to make sure that comes across."

Not that Smalling is dismissing the value of experience.

He realises the value of having Vidic alongside him earlier in the campaign.

"It is important to have an experienced player with me," he said.

"I have not really faced these kind of strikers before, so having someone around to help has made it a lot easier. It gives you the confidence to cope."

That confidence has already come to the attention of England boss Fabio Capello, who drafted Smalling into his squad for the November friendly against France.

Although the former Maidstone star has since dropped back down, the exposure to senior international level was an eye-opener, even if he is looking no further ahead than this summer's European Under-21 Championships in Denmark.

"I have not thought about England," he said.

"I am very happy with the under-21s and we have the tournament in the summer that I would like to go to because I have helped with the qualifying stages.

"I am just focused on that."

Ferguson will doubtless remind Smalling that there is plenty to occupy his mind for the next couple of months as United chase glory on three fronts.

Smalling has already been indoctrinated in the United mantra of the Premier League being the most important prize of all.

"The more games we have to play the better," he said.

"You want to be in all the competitions right until the end and maintain the excitement.

"I know there are world-class teams from all over Europe in the Champions League.

"But that tournament is about what happens on the day.

"The league is the one I would really like to win. Finishing top after 38 games would be a big achievement."

News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May