Chris Smalling: Man Utd defender 'surprised' by reason for England omission

Chris Smalling: Man Utd defender 'surprised' by reason for England omission
Chris Smalling: Man Utd defender 'surprised' by reason for England omission
Smalling scored for Manchester United in their 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday

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Manchester United's Chris Smalling was "surprised" by the reason England boss Gareth Southgate gave for leaving him out of his last squad - but says he has not given up hope of a recall.

Southgate suggested an inability to play out from the back had cost central defender Smalling his place.

But the 27-year-old, capped 31 times, believes he has plenty to offer.

"I play for one of the biggest clubs and most successful managers in Jose [Mourinho]," he said.

"You don't play for one of the biggest clubs in the world for as long as I have and won most trophies bar the Champions League without being able to do everything that a top defender can do, be it playing or defending.

"Was I surprised? Yes."

'Your club form decides if you play at a World Cup'

Smalling, who moved to Old Trafford in 2010, has made 13 appearances this season, helping United keep eight clean sheets.

Team-mate Phil Jones, Chelsea's Gary Cahill, Leicester's Harry Maguire, Liverpool's Joe Gomez and John Stones of Manchester City were selected ahead of him for England's home friendlies against Germany and Brazil, both of which ended 0-0.

Asked about his decision, Southgate said: "I have huge respect for Chris. He's a player who's obviously playing at a big club.

"We want to play a certain way. The players we've brought in we want to see using the ball from the back and building up in a certain way. That's a style I want to have a look at.

"I know what Chris can do. We've picked young defenders who haven't got as many games under their belt so this is a great chance to look at them."

Smalling said: "This year, as a team, we have one of the best defensive records and have done for a number of years. I'm proud to be part of that.

"It is your club form that decides if you play at a World Cup because there aren't many England games throughout the season.

"While I'm here, as part of a successful team, that should show, come the summer, what is to be."

I don't know how you get in the England squad if you can't get in the Arsenal team

'I hope he doesn't get his England place back'

While Smalling was omitted from the squad, Jones started the game against Germany - but lasted only 25 minutes.

And Mourinho said England medical staff gave the centre-back six injections so he could play.

Jones aggravated a thigh injury and will miss Wednesday's Champions League match at Basel and Saturday's Premier League home game with Newcastle.

Mourinho says he is also unlikely to feature in the Premier League match against Brighton on Saturday, 2 December.

Asked about Smalling's chances of returning to the England squad, Mourinho said: "I hope he doesn't get back his spot in the national team. Because everybody who goes there, somebody comes back injured.

"Of course, when I say I don't want him to go there, I say from a selfish perspective. I want my players to be happy and to go to their national teams and an event like the World Cup.

"Smalling is playing all the time and playing well."

BBC

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