Nani backs Anderson to flourish

The duo joined United as youngsters just over three years ago from

Portugal, where Nani played for Sporting Lisbon and Anderson was a

star at Porto. At the time, Anderson was the more developed and

revered of the pair, having blossomed in the Portuguese Liga to

become Porto’s chief playmaker. However, both have largely

flattered to deceive since coming to England and struggled to

develop to the extent many expected. Nani, though, produced some

consistent form midway through last season and has carried that on

in the current campaign. Now he is backing Anderson to do the same

after the Brazilian finally overcame a bad knee injury. “Everyone

knows the quality that Anderson has,” he told ahead of

Saturday’s evening clash with Tottenham in the Premier League. “He

was unlucky with the knee injury that he suffered because he was

just starting to play well and show us what we know he can do. “We

all know here that he is an amazing player. “He is strong, he is a

very clever player too and he can be a very important player in

this team. “He is a strong character too, which you need at this

club. He’s not scared of anything. He’ll take the ball in any

situation and he can be a top player for Manchester United.”

Another emerging star at Old Trafford, central defender Chris

Smalling, is loving life with United after a surprise move from

Fulham in the summer. “It’s been great so far,” he said. “I’ve been

made to feel very welcome by everybody which has really helped.

“Going on tour in the summer was key in terms of the settling in

process as I got to know a lot of the lads well. It’s a real family

club with a great atmosphere.” Smalling, who was playing non-league

football two years ago and preparing for life at university, added:

“I always hoped I’d get a chance to prove myself at the top level

because I believed I could do it, but making your way up the

football ladder is tough and not everyone can make it. “When I went

for my trial at Fulham I’d already applied to Loughborough

University to study business management with economics. “I’d have

been happy to go to uni, but obviously it was my dream to play

football. Joining United was a real shock but a great surprise.”