Chris Smalling and Marcos have both been named in a list of the top defenders performances since January 1 in European football in a new study conducted by the CIES Football Observatory.
The list, compiled using OPTA provided material, didn’t have room for the likes of John Terry or Branislav Ivanovic but there was space for United’s duo.
Smalling was chosen in fourth position ahead of the likes of Thiago Silva and David Luiz while Rojo was picked in eighth place.
Without question, Smalling has quietly been one of United’s most impressive performances in recent weeks. It has been a superb response to being sent off away to Manchester City and that incident seems to have triggered something in his mindset which could have been holding him back previously.
As for Rojo, he has impressed all United fans with his assured performances at the back. Had he not got injured, Smalling might never been given the opportunity to redeem himself.
Both defenders have contributed to United’s excellent home record this season and will be keen to start against Aston Villa this weekend.
Here is the top ten list in full: