Manchester United defender Chris Smalling says that he is ready to be the driving force for England in this summer's Euros in France.
Smalling is confident he is the man at the back for England
Smalling has been in fantastic form for United for the best part of a year now and is seen to be one of the first choice centre-backs for the Euros this summer with England. Smalling, therefore, feels he is in better shape to be the go-to defender for his country this summer.
Smalling didn't play much two years ago at the World Cup with England but this time he says he has "bigger expectations". United are in a very busy part of the season and will be fighting until the end for a top-four place and to win the FA Cup and Smalling says he wants to be finishing the season "where I felt I contributed".
Of the friendlies last month for England against Germany and Holland, the defender said "I feel I have put my name right at the forefront" as his performances were superb once again. The in-form defender continued to say that "I fully expect to be a part of it" meaning that he expects to be in the team for the first game for his country in the Euros in June.
Injuries meant Smalling didn't play much at the last World Cup
Before previous tournaments, Smalling was struggling with a lot of injuries so therefore didn't have the chance to make sure that he could be the first choice for his country. Smalling, though, this season, has only missed four games and he fully expects his good form will see him reap the rewards this time around.
Smalling said that "it was a very stop-start season for" him leading into the World Cup which was disappointing as it wasn't a "full consistent run of matches". The United defender says that he is now much "happier" with himself than he was back then.
Smalling has enjoyed a brilliant season, comparisons starting with Ferdinand
The defender continued to say that he has "stayed injury free" which has seen him captain United on a few occasions this season which has "enabled [his] confidence to grow".
Smalling's good form has seen him being compared to United legend Rio Ferdinand and Smalling says "it's nice to hear yourself being compared to great players". The defender says that "if you are being compared to players like that" then you know your performing well.