Smalling excited by potential

Smalling is currently playing at right-back in a youthful United

side which has enjoyed a 100 per cent start to the defence of their

title following wins over West Brom and Tottenham. In Monday’s 3-0

victory over Spurs at Old Trafford, the average of the Red Devils

side was 23, with the likes of David de Gea, Phil Jones, Tom

Cleverley and Danny Welbeck all given a chance by Sir Alex

Ferguson. With United boasting a proud history of blooding

youngsters into the first team, Smalling is looking forward to

seeing how far the latest crop can progress. “There’s an excitement

here in terms of the endless potential,” said Smalling. “We’ve

nowhere near reached it, and we’re just looking forward to how far

we can go. “It looks great for the future, and I’m really excited

to be a part of it. “If the manager keeps on giving us chances,

hopefully the lads will keep on taking them. “You can see

everyone’s got a smile on their face and is really enjoying it,

whether in training or big games. “The manager tells us to

concentrate, but he also tells us to enjoy it. If you’re not

enjoying your football, you shouldn’t really be here.” United were

without the injured Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic against Spurs,

while Spanish goalkeeper De Gea is half the age of his predecessor

Edwin van der Sar. With Wayne Rooney considered one of the elder

statesmen of the team at 25, Smalling admits the younger players

now have different team-mates to learn from. He added: “If the fans

see the manager is giving us a chance, they really get behind us.

“A lot of the guys who were mid-age when I came have stepped up to

being the more experienced players. “You look at players like

Wayne, who is young in terms of his age, but is actually one of the

more experienced players now. “The young players try to learn from

them and take that experience on board.”