REUTERS – The threat of being replaced during the transfer window helps keep players on their toes and has spurred Manchester United defender Chris Smalling to new heights.
Smalling has enjoyed an excellent campaign at Old Trafford after the club was linked with a big-money move for a defender in the close season.
“It does spur you on. When you come to Manchester United, in every transfer window — whether the team is doing well or badly — there are always players linked with the club because this club is always linked with the best players,” Smalling told the United website (www.manutd.com).
“It keeps you on your toes and spurs you on. You can’t rest on six months of good performances because as soon as you have a blip, there is always another player to take your place.”
Smalling, 26, is hoping to continue his development in 2016.
“I have stayed relatively injury-free and have been able to play games, build up and keep learning. I take a lot of positives from that,” Smalling said.
“We have had a lot of injuries in the centre-back positions, so in these last 12 months I have been happy and injury-free with the manager’s faith.
“I don’t make too many resolutions but if I can stay injury-free again then I would wish for that.”
United host third tier Sheffield United in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, followed by league trips to Newcastle United and Liverpool.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru)