Currently considered as one of the Premier League’s best defenders, Smalling has hailed van Gaal as a big reason behind his development and Man United are certainly reaping the rewards of his brilliant work.
The 26-year-old has been involved in every game this season and has been vital to United’s defensive success of eight clean sheets in fourteen games.
“The consistency of playing has helped and I am just enjoying it at the moment,” Smalling said.
“The manager just says to go and express yourself and not hold back really. He wants to see that aggression on the pitch and that is a big part of my game.”
Whatever van Gaal has done, or is doing, with Smalling, it has worked wonders. His transformation under the Dutchman has been the biggest and he’s now become one of the Premier League’s best defenders.
As much as we aren’t expressive in attack, I’ve got to say that Smalling’s run from defence have been extremely refreshing this year and I’m definitely enjoying watching him grow as a player and a leader.
While we’re looking cumbersome and lacklustre in front of our opponent’s goal this year, a defence led by Smalling has become the Premier League’s best up until this point and long may it continue.