Chris Smalling had a terrible game in the first Manchester Derby where he saw red in the 1st half of the game and virtually condemned his side to a loss much to the chagrin of boss Louis Van Gaal even though the reds played a resilient effort and narrowly lost 1-0. The defender must have been worried for his future given the rumour that many players would be auditioning for their next United contracts over the season. After serving his suspension Smalling has delivered a string of solid performances beginning pretty much from when he made his return from the Man City red card suspension.
Smalling has progressivley been selected by LVG and has not let his manager down culminating with his goal vs Man City in the Derby a couple of weeks back which must have been very satisfying for the still young defender to have started that game and scored in a thumping United win. As Sky Sports reported LVG has become increasingly pleased with the defender and is clearly delighted to have got the player locked up until 2019.
LVG said: “Chris has improved and developed immensely during the short time that I have been at the club and has become an integral part of the first-team squad.
“He always conducts himself in a very professional manner and it is also pleasing that he has scored some important goals this season too. I am delighted he has signed a new contract.”
There has been plenty of rumours about Arsenal wanting to sign the United defender with Arsene Wenger apparently a big fan but seemingly the star never was really considering leaving Old Trafford and a clearly very happy Smalling went on to say in reply to his new deal: “I’m delighted to sign my new contract. I am so proud to play for such a great club. We have developed as a team over the course of the season under Louis van Gaal and we are now playing as a complete unit.
“This is a very exciting time to be at Manchester United, we are all determined to get back to where we belong and competing at the highest level.”
This is definitely a good bit of business by LVG and perhaps suggests that United may not be looking for a centre-back quite as keenly as some have suggested given the other players he already has like Jones, Rojo, McNair, Blackett etc. It will be interesting to see if the Dutchman does go after a top centre-half in the summer.