Originally Posted by Ekeke
He looked a very good prospect next to Rio and Vida. But on form these are two of the very best CBs in the world capable of walking their partner through most kinds of matches. Next to anyone else he's not looked even half as good. I think its fair to mention Smalling hasnt looked quite as good when not paired with our top CBs too, but he's still looked good. Not completely and utterly useless.
Originally Posted by Fergies Formula
I've never rated him, the only times he has looked reasonable is when he was surrounded by our best players over a year ago when we peaked. The hype over him was ridiculous and unfounded.
He was also fantastic at Sunderland. To the point where most of the fans on their forum wanted them to break their transfer record to try to keep a hold of him. Some (although on the minority) were even saying they should offer him captaincy because of how well he marshalled their defence.
He generally out-performed Pique in the reserves when they played together, and then did better in their early matches in the first team.
All in all, he was brilliant up until January this year, consistently performing far ahead of almost any other central defender around his age. No doubting he's been average to shit in the time since, but let's not forget everything that came before.
I think Fergie will just take him completely out of the firing line for a while. I'll be somewhat surprised if we see him again in the first team (barring a lot of injuries) before February, it's time just to take him out and give him time to get his head right.