Apart from his passing, what did Smalling actually do wrong? And are you against him coming back next season?

Fortitude

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As a pure defender, how many of you actually believe Smalling is inferior to anything we have at the club? Apart from his grabby hands and poorness on the ball, the guy is rarely beaten as an actual CB and he doesn't come with a lack of strength, pace, bravery, athleticism or any kind of weakness in the air.

I see he's lumped in with Jones very flippantly by some posters here which doesn't make sense.

This talk of us being cash-strapped whilst needing to pad out the squad (post-Sancho) and get in a supplementary CB for Maguire when we still have Smalling, who is not the worst partner for Maguire by any means, is quite weird. Why is there talk of spending north of £50m on a CB when we have Smalling?

With regard to his passing., traditionally the onus is on the anchoring midfielder to alleviate the issue and take over the play as soon as possible. In the world of the high press, this is not ideal, of course, but even then, if Maguire is this ball-playing CB some people think he is, he gets more chance to showcase it in a traditional stopper/ball-player pairing, which he and Smalling would be.

If Smalling wants out, fair enough. But if we have him and he wants to stay, who is against him being our starting CB next season, and if you are against it, can you state why?
 

sewey89

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He's better than Jones, that is obvious. But he's also not as good as what we've got now. If we had Maguire, Smalling and Lindelof - Then Maguire/Lindelof would still be our starting 2.

Maguire was a definite upgrade and I can guarantee, if Maguire went to play in Italy, he'd look twice the player that Smalling did for half a season.

The problem is that when players aren't playing here anymore, they're no longer under the spotlight and you forget about the mistakes they made. Smalling had some fantastic moments and was a good defender, but he was also very clumsy and as you've highlighted, his passing was a huge issue.
 

Ødegaard

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Would rather give gametime to Tuanzebe and see how he develops.
But I wouldn't mind having Smalling as a backup, the issue is he doesn't want to be a backup player. That is why he left in the first place.
 
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Cassidy

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He is as good as both Maguire and Lindelof. They are both newer and so people will say they are better.

Saying that I think we should sell and invest in someone who is better than what we have or has high potential to be as Smalling is coming to the end
 

SambaBoy

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I rate him above Lindelof. As a natural defender, he's actually very good but goes through confidence crises sometimes where he makes terrible mistakes and obviously his limitations on the ball hold him back at the highest level. He's strong, quick, good in the air and has decent defensive instincts.

In saying all that, his time at United is up. You don't loan out a 30 year old with a view to bringing him back and including him in the team.
 

Tiber

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I always thought Smalling was a good defender who did very little wrong and got far too much shit
 
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I always thought Smalling was a good defender who did very little wrong and got far too much shit
He always got blamed for the likes of Jones making clowns of themselves. I will forever marvel that he went on loan and Jones remained on our books for the season.
 

passing-wind

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He's better than Maguire defensively for me. I'd go even as far to say he's probably England's best center half. His limitations on the ball make him a prime suspect playing in the modern game, where so much distribution and possession is housed from the defence.
 

DWelbz19

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Nothing. He was set to be third choice behind Lindelof, he didn’t want to be third choice.

He’s a good CB who doesn’t fit the way we want to play. Do we play out from the back well? God no. But we try to do it every fecking game so it’s not a system Smalling will succeed in.
 

OleGunnar20

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I would have had him as a starter next to Maguire this season, and if we're unable to bring in an improvement on Lindelof would do the same next.

But then I don't rate Lindelof very highly at all. At best he's decent, but still passive, weak in the air and not physical enough to make up for Maguires deficiencies.

Smalling or a fit Bailly would make a far better partner to Maguire in my opinion.
 

roonster09

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Would love to see Smalling and Maguire playing together.
 

buckooo1978

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Always felt Smalling was a bit grabby and that was a concern given VAR - I think he's been pretty solid by all accounts in Rome

If he rejoined he'd be our second best CB but let's be honest - a Maguire/Smalling partnership isn't going to win the Premier League

It also still doesn't solve the issue of not having a strong left sided CB

I'd happily take him back if we managed to shift Jones, Rojo and Bailly - he, Lindelof and hopefully Tuanzebe would be good backup to Maguire and a top CB
 

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He did nothing wrong, as it stands he is still the second best CB we have imo, but very limited on the ball. I was all for buying a new CB and still am, but we finished the season with 3 more goals conceded to the best defense in the league, dare I say the CB buying can wait, until at least we bring a proper starting CDM and not rely on Matic for the season. If Smalling wants to come back and fight it out with Lindelof than okey, but Ole obviously prefers Lindelof.
 

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I liked him. Was absolutely bricking it though at the thought of his shirt pulling with the introduction of VAR.
 

Eckers99

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It was just his passing. He's a very good defender but every time he looked for, and failed to find, an out ball so chose to pass to Young, who would immediately be pressed and tie himself in knots, I died a little bit inside.
 

Bondi77

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At least second best at the club and the best goal scoring defender as well.
 

Cassidy

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Nothing. He was set to be third choice behind Lindelof, he didn’t want to be third choice.

He’s a good CB who doesn’t fit the way we want to play. Do we play out from the back well? God no. But we try to do it every fecking game so it’s not a system Smalling will succeed in.
He did ok under LVG. I do think though we should sign a new CB and sell Smalling
 

MadDogg

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Defensively he's still our best. In theory he'd also be a better partner for Maguire than Lindelof is seeing as his main strengths compensate for Maguire's weaknesses. But his ability on the ball is simply not good enough and Ole wants both central defenders to be able to play out from the back to some extent. Do I agree with Ole that Lindelof's superior on the ball ability compensates for Smalling's better defensive ability? Not necessarily. But that's what he wants to focus on so that's what we've got to work with. Smalling then doesn't want to only be a squad player at this stage of his career so should be allowed to leave.

We really need to find somebody who has the best of both worlds. The comfort on the ball and passing ability, while also being fast and a strong defender. There's plenty of names people talk about in the transfer forum so it'll be interesting to see whether we go for one now or we keep faith in Maguire/Lindelof for another season.
 

noodlehair

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He'd have games where his brain would just seem to shut down and go home. Like that one at Leicester where we conceded at the end because he couldn't decide if he was injured or not and then forgot he was playing centreback. He also for someone so big was pretty poor on defending set pieces. It took a long while but we are finally better at that now with Maguire, and in general our defence even though it's still not great (imo) looks less likely to crumble completely, and that's despite our goalkeeper turning into David James.

I think his on the ball problems were always overstated. He isn't great on the ball but to be frank neither are Maguire and Lindelof. Maguire in particular is infuriating and plays us into trouble far more often than his dallying is actually of any use. All a centrback needs to do is get the ball and pass it to a midfielder with minimal time involved and Smalling is capable of doing that. I mean Southgate made a big point of not picking him due to him not being good enough on the ball, but then picks people like Tyrone Mings. That's like not picking Balotelli because you don't want trouble and then replacing him with a drunk Joe Barton.

I'd have him back but I'm not sure if he'd be an improvement on Lindelof. He'd definitely be a better back up option if not but being a back up is the reason he wanted to leave in the first place.
 

Dec9003

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Defensively there’s no problems with him, but we try and play it out the back too often to have him in the team now.
 

Squeaky Bumtime

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The longer he's out of the club better he becomes. Defensively there isnt much compared to Lindelof and Maguire but despite errors I still feel more secure seeing them in defense then when Mike was at the club. Of course him partnering Jones and the like hasnt helped.
People bang on that current CB partnership wont win us PL. Well bringing Mike back wont either.
And other than passing. Passing is a huge issue and with him we couldn't build from the back like we do now cause when he receives the ball he treates it like a hot potato and that limites his play a lot.
I dont know what Ole's intentions are with CB situation. Bailly is crooked, Tuanzebe is out. Will we go for another CB or bring Mike as a backup?
 

Champagne Football

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Smalling has had an amazing season but I would rate him at Tom Cleverley/Mkhitaryan/Lingard/Welbeck level. A player who would thrive at West Ham or Everton, but not quite good enough for the first XI of Man Utd.

Southgate has picked Tyrone Mings, Lewis Dunk, Tarkowski, Michael Keane, Tomori, Gary Cahill, Joe Gomez, John Stones all ahead of Smalling.

I think if we bring back Smalling, I believe his performances would be on a par with what Lindelof offers. I think when we came up against world class forwards like Aguerro, Sadio Mane, Harry Kane..... I think Smalling would get exposed.
 

AshRK

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Maybe people should revisit Smalling's performance thread and they will know how much most wanted him to be replaced. I am not going to pretend Maguire-Lindelof combo will help us win the title but smalling is not the answer. I hope we sell him so that people can stop overrating him.
 

Havak

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Nothing. He was set to be third choice behind Lindelof, he didn’t want to be third choice.

He’s a good CB who doesn’t fit the way we want to play. Do we play out from the back well? God no. But we try to do it every fecking game so it’s not a system Smalling will succeed in.
This did frustrate me to no end against Leicester on the final day.

Watch that first 60 minutes (particularly the first half) we tried to play out so many times and failed. It was almost embarrassing because Leicester's press wasn't even that good. We would be worse than that with Smalling in the side, but I don't think we should be doing it at all anyway, in which case Smalling would suit us :lol:

For how much praise some of our defenders get for supposedly being good on the ball and building from the back, they're absolutely shite at it. Smalling is just unfortunately even worse at something we probably shouldn't be doing anyway.
 

Cassidy

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Smalling has had an amazing season but I would rate him at Tom Cleverley/Mkhitaryan/Lingard/Welbeck level. A player who would thrive at West Ham or Everton, but not quite good enough for the first XI of Man Utd.

Southgate has picked Tyrone Mings, Lewis Dunk, Tarkowski, Michael Keane, Tomori, Gary Cahill, Joe Gomez, John Stones all ahead of Smalling.

I think if we bring back Smalling, I believe his performances would be on a par with what Lindelof offers. I think when we came up against world class forwards like Aguerro, Sadio Mane, Harry Kane..... I think Smalling would get exposed.
And England have been no better defensively for it. Smalling didn't get exposed playing against top forwards like Kane when he played for us so what exactly would change?

Im not advocating to bring him back but the revisionism is a bit much. Both Maguire and Lindelof get exposed against top forwards and he is on par with them. We need to bring in a CB either better than Maguire of with high potential to be
 

Robertd0803

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He was at his best with Blind next to him to do the passing and thinking for him and all he had to do was defend.

I reckon Ole wanted him gone as well personally so no point talking about him coming back.
 

Baneofthegame

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Wasn’t against Smalling and thought at least Jones/Rojo should have gone before him.
 

Dyslexic Untied

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I don't think he offers more to the team than Maguire and Lindelof. He might be better defensively than Lindelof (might), but his overall contribution is still inferior IMO.

Further, apart from Lingard's "attempts" to challenge for headers (where he typically jumps up while turning his back to the challenge, a meter or two from where the ball is coming down, and all just to pretend that he is challenging), there is not a sight in football that annoyed me more than seeing Smalling use two full seconds to square his body for a simple inside-foot pass, only for it to be passed behind the running path of the full back situated 10 meters away from him. I am not sure I can stomach any more of that.
 

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On one hand I'd be interested to see him and Maguire in the same team because Smalling would cover for Maguire's lack of pace whilst they're both pretty excellent in the air in both boxes. The issue with Smalling isn't just his passing, it's his first touch and how long he takes to get it out of his feet. If he was on the right side with AWB it would give the opposition a very pronouced weakness to prey on.
 

OnlyTwoDaSilvas

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He can get a bit handsy, but it looks like Maguire has him beat there. He's definitely the grabbiest defender we've had now.

Lindelof and Maguire are regarded as ball players, somehow. I don't think they're doing anything particularly impressive with the ball, and we're lousy at playing out from the back. Smalling's issue for me was more about control of the ball, and perhaps his comfort with it at his feet. His passing was fine, but he'd often take an extra touch, or he'd generally just looks a little cumbersome when opening his body up to play the ball, which would slow down play somewhat. But we're certainly not any better at it without him.

He would improve the depth we have if he came back, but he doesn't improve the quality. Each of our defenders have qualities and flaws, and Smalling would be more of the same. He would at least be much more reliable in terms of availability than anyone who isn't Maguire and Lindelof. I think he'd be a reasonable 3rd choice, but I also don't think he wants to come back and play that role, which is fair enough.

Ideally I'd like Tuanzebe to be the 3rd centre back, in hope that he becomes a starter, but I fear he is going to be ruined by injuries. I hope I'm wrong, but generally I'd like to see us move on. 99.9% of the time, you don't loan out a 29/30 year old with the intention of bringing them back.
 

OleBoiii

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He's our best defender, imo.

Maguire is more balanced and thus I rate him higher, but Smalling is better at tackling, heading and maybe even positioning. He's also quicker.
 

DWelbz19

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This did frustrate me to no end against Leicester on the final day.

Watch that first 60 minutes (particularly the first half) we tried to play out so many times and failed. It was almost embarrassing because Leicester's press wasn't even that good. We would be worse than that with Smalling in the side, but I don't think we should be doing it at all anyway, in which case Smalling would suit us :lol:

For how much praise some of our defenders get for supposedly being good on the ball and building from the back, they're absolutely shite at it. Smalling is just unfortunately even worse at something we probably shouldn't be doing anyway.
Completely agree. Rashford, Martial, and Greenwood aren’t exactly renowned for their aerial capacity, but it’s not like they’re tiny, is it? Lump it long a couple times. It’s all about winning the second ball, anyway.
 

izec

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Don't want him back. he is not better now than what he has been here and that wasn't good enough. He is a decent squad option, but wants to be a starter. It will only go downhill from here. Let him go and be a starter for a couple of years in Italy.

He did not do a lot wrong, he is simply not that good. He never turned into a leader and always had clumsy mistakes in him. Him, Evans and Jones completely failed to take over Vidic/Rio, they always stayed deputies instead of turning into class senior CBs. Smalling was the best of the bunch, but he is older now and never fulfilled the promise. Just not enough really.
 

cyberman

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I said it when we sold him. Hes a great defender in a low block but as soon as we try to play it out he shit the bed.
I rewatched the Etihad game from earlier and we could not have won that with Smalling. All of our counters were set up by a cool head playing a pass forward through their press after City lost the ball. Fred was fantastic by the way.
 

711

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I would have Smalling back and be happy for him to play 20 games a season, but I don't think he would accept that, so it doesn't matter.
 

VP89

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I thought Smalling was very good for us, maybe I've missed a major flaw in his game? But For me he was always a solid defender.
 

LARulz

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I think he's second best CB. Whilst I like Lindelof, I don't trust him - he is pathetic in the air, seems to rush around a lot and prone to major mistakes. But like all at least good defenders, he can make some absolute monster tackles.

I think Smalling's big weakness is literally his ball playing. If he could be good on the ball he'd be our starter. I don't think Lindelof is that great on the ball but is better. The way we TRY to play makes Smalling a bit of a risky bet.

Personally I think the way we try and play from the back is wrong anyway. Give the ball to Pogba/Fernandes asap, don't feck with it around our box and invite pressure. If we play that game Smalling and Maguire is the right partnership - it's strong and reliable defensively.

Smalling was (rightly) not willing to sit on the bench when teams wanted him to start elsewhere