Former West Ham United defender has lambasted Chris Smalling for what was an ’embarrassing’ defensive performance against Newcastle United.
The Englishman could have easily given the hosts a penalty in the first half with a trip on Dwight Gayle just inside the box.
Referee Craig Pawson waved play on but Smalling eventually found himself in his book after a woeful dive near the halfway line having lost the ball in far from challenging circumstances.
Newcastle proceeded to score the winner from the resultant free-kick and Gale, speaking on Sky Sports, was quick to note that Smalling’s display was nothing short of embarrassing.
“Well I think he got embarrassed so quickly he got up so quickly didn’t he,” he said.
“He realised what he had done. His defence would be that he was anticipating the challenge, but that’s not enough.
“You’ve got to have a connection on you and it was embarrassing really, it was quite embarrassing. Watch how quickly he gets up here, he goes down and he’s ‘oh blimey, what have I done, up I get’.”
It is nothing short of astonishing to think that Smalling has been at this club for almost eight years.
Newcastle’s last win over Man United at St James’ Park came back in 2012 on a night that saw Smalling kill the came completely with an own goal, and six years on there he was, once again, needlessly gifting them a chance to score. Someone on Tyneside certainly owes him a beer.
The main point here, I guess, is that despite the number of opportunities and years of experience under his belt, Smalling hasn’t shown any discernible signs of improvement, or even upward trajectory. He continues to thrive and fall short in the same areas – strong in the box but technically way off the mark – and at a club of this magnitude you simply cannot accommodate players who stand still.