Both players have been crucial in Manchester United’s form this year which has seen us concede fewer goals than any other team in England.
Smalling in particular deserves all the praise he gets after what has been a transformational few months where he’s become Man United’s defensive leader.
This year is a bit different for De Gea. After two years of being peppered with shots in goal, United’s defence has tightened to the point where teams aren’t getting many opportunities against us. That being said, when called upon he is always there to keep it out.
Up until this season, United’s problem since Sir Alex Ferguson left was in defence but Louis van Gaal really has made us one of the most formidable teams at the back and sides are finding it very hard to break us down.
However, our goalscoring threat has been lacklustre and the fact we’ve got no players in The Guardian’s best midfield or attack is indicative of that. If van Gaal can get his attack singing from the same hymn sheet as his defence is right now, we’ll certainly be contending for the Premier League title next year.