Hodgson praises Smalling
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson praised Chris Smalling in the aftermath of the Cottagers' win over Swindon.
Last Updated: 02/01/10 7:28pm
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson praised centre-half Chris Smalling in the aftermath of the Cottagers' win over Swindon.
Bobby Zamora scored the only goal in a closely-fought game at Craven Cottage but Hodgson was particularly pleased with his defence.
Smalling, 20, was given his Premier League debut against Chelsea on Monday but the game ended in disaster for the defender as an own goal gifted the Blues a 2-1 win.
Hodgson was pleased with the way Smalling bounced back from that error, but thought his side should have killed the game off.
"Chris Smalling did well for us again," he said.
"The game suited him because they passed the ball well enough but it was only a matter of time before they hit the ball long to (Billy) Paynter.
"Then get the ball off the knockdown so it was coming in the air, so it is the type of game that we expect him to do well at.
"He and Aaron Hughes were pretty much fault-free throughout the match apart from on two occasions, once when he defended the wrong side and gave away a free-kick and the other when he over elaborated and lost possession but I suppose I'm being pretty harsh if I'd expect him to play a fault-free game.
"I thought we were the most dangerous in front of goal. We should have scored the second goal with the likes of (Andy) Johnson and (Clint) Dempsey.
"Zamora was angry for not scoring the first chance which he set up for himself early on.
"It was a very fine strike and throughout the game I thought he did well.
"The play between the two of our centre-forwards was quite good. In fact, in the second half some of our play was as good as it gets."
Swindon manager Danny Wilson also heaped praise on Smalling, who was signed from non-league Maidstone in 2008.
"He was excellent last week at Chelsea and he was fantastic today so they have a good player on their books here at Fulham," he said.
"It was a big decision to bring him here from non-league football and I think
Roy (Hodgson) has got it spot on."
Zamora delivered another reminder of his abilities to England manager Fabio Capello ahead of the World Cup in the summer, netting his sixth goal in his last seven matches.
When asked whether Zamora could make the World Cup squad, Wilson added: "Absolutely. I hadn't seen Bobby play this year live before today.
"I saw him play last year and he is a different player this year. He can go however high he wants to irrespective of whether he plays for one of the big clubs or not."