The Manchester United legend Gary Pallister is backing Chris Smalling to follow in his footsteps and establish himself as a central defender for both club and country.
In an interview with 888sport, Pallister claimed that Smalling has what it takes to wear the captain’s armband for both Manchester United and England.
“He’s been United’s most consistent player this season. He’s taken the role by the scruff of the neck and made that centre-half position his own producing commanding performance after commanding performance.
“Hopefully he transforms that into England performances and then he could be a future England captain. This year he’s been captain-like. He’s led from the front, been dogged, and been that kind of player people follow.
“Chris is in a rich vein of form but he needs to continue that over a period of time. If that’s the case then people will start talking of him being a leader.”
Pallister also thinks that Phil Jones can learn from Smalling’s example and get his career back on track.
“There are a lot of people out there who like to knock Phil Jones down but if he can learn the ropes of being a centre-half again and take on the same determination Chris Smalling has shown then I don’t see why not. He’s got the ability; it’s simply about bringing out the best of it.
“In his first few games at centre-back after coming to the club he was absolutely outstanding. Everyone was raving about his performances. But then he moved into midfield where he didn’t look quite so comfortable. He played at right-back too.
“It’s a very similar thing to Chris where he was a young lad and all of a sudden that learning curve at centre-half has been taken away from him. But he only has to look across in the changing room to see the transformation in Chris Smalling and how he has answered his critics.”