Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Manchester United recruit Chris Smalling thanks Evans and Brown

New Manchester United recruit Chris Smalling has thanked fellow central defenders Wes Brown and Jonny Evans for helping him settle in.

Smalling is looking for his second run-out for the club against Philadelphia Union tomorrow at Lincoln Financial Field.

The former Fulham player partnered Evans at the back in the |3-1 victory over Celtic on Friday in Toronto.

Smalling, 20, is still coming to terms with his rapid rise up the ladder — 18 months ago he was playing for non-league Maidstone.

With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both absent, he has the chance to make an early impression on manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the coaching staff.

Smalling said: “The tour has been a really enjoyable experience so far. It was great to meet everyone, initially at Carrington.

“I have spent quite a bit of time with Wes and Jonny, my fellow centre-backs.

“And I have also been chatting to a lot of the younger lads. It is just great to get to know everybody and be part of such a great club. I just want to do my best.”

Brown, now one of the United's senior players at 30, believes Smalling has a bright future.

“Chris is a great lad and has fitted in brilliantly,” he said.

“He has been training really well — he looks very fit and sharp. I am sure he will be ready and raring to go for the start of the season.” Brown admits the derby games against Manchester City are the ones he looks forward to most of all.

He feels there is an extra edge to the matches because of their rivals' staggering wealth.

That is why he puts the fixture above that of champions Chelsea — the side that destroyed their chances of a fourth successive Barclays Premier League last season — and Liverpool.

He is also dreaming of teaming up with his younger brother Reece, who is also a central defender, in either the reserves or senior team.

At 18 Reece has already stepped up from the Academy side and played for the reserves.

Wes said: “It would be absolutely brilliant to play alongside Reece.

“Even though there is 12 years between us I really hope we can do it because it would be a great thing for our family.

“Even playing together in a reserves match would be fantastic for us.”

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