Rio Ferdinand: Chris Smalling needs to become a leader for Manchester United and England

by Tanveer Arayan

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has urged Chris Smalling to improve his communication skills if he is to become England’s defensive leader.

Smalling, 26, has established himself as Man United and England’s first-team starter over the last year and has played both of England’s Euro 2016 group games against Russia and Wales.

The Englishman is said to be one of the most vocal players in Man United’s side but Ferdinand, who played with Smalling for four years at Old Trafford, believes he still needs to improve his communication.

“It’s an important tournament for Chris Smalling,” he said.

“He’s probably the first centre-half on the team-sheet.

“It’s the time now for him to go in there and take the opportunity he’s been given and become the leader in that back four.

“Communication is the biggest area for him to improve on. He’s got to communicate and drag people around that back four to really be that commanding centre-half he really wants to be and I know he wants to be that.”

Smalling has played the full 90 minutes in both of England’s games at the European Championship so far as Roy Hodgson only picked three centre-backs for his squad at Euro 2016, with the others being Gary Cahill and John Stones.

There were fears over his future at Old Trafford during his early years at the club but he has done brilliantly to get himself to where he is and will no doubt play a vital role for England for many years to come.

He’s one of the few bright sparks to come out of Louis van Gaal‘s reign at United, the Dutchman’s defensive structure worked brilliantly to help Smalling develop and I’m sure he’ll become a great leader for club and country.

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