Why Chris Smalling Should Have Gone Out On Loan

Chris Smalling seems to be one of Roy Hodgson’s ‘teacher’s pets’ within the England squad. This is perhaps down to the fact he gave him his big break by putting him in the first team at Fulham which then enabled him to get a move to Old Trafford.  In his first season at United, Smalling impressed so much that he was named on the bench for the 2011 Champions League Final against Barcelona ahead of the more experienced Jonny Evans.

 Two years on from that and it seems like there has been little progression, granted last season a lot of this was down to injury. However, this is a World Cup year to which every footballer on the planet wants to be in Brazil next summer. For Smalling to do so he really needs to play regular football, which is highly unlikely given the competition for places at Old Trafford.

The renaissance of the Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand partnership does him no favours at all, and yes they will be rested at times, but Jonny Evans is arguably Man Utd’s most improved player over the last two seasons so you would suspect he is a strong third choice. Phil Jones can also slot in at centre-back, and due to his versatility you would pencil in Jones to make Hodgson’s squad if England qualify for Brazil.

 Therefore due to the fight he faces to get playing time at Man Utd, surely it would have made sense for him to go on loan and play 25-30 games at centre back for another Premier League team.  At 23 he needs to be playing games which would benefit both Man Utd and England in the long run.  Steven Caulker left Spurs for this reason to join Cardiff City, and whilst a permanent move may be drastic, the determination and the risk taken to progress his career should be applauded. This is an example that the likes of Smalling should look to follow.