Smalling reveals Fergie factor
Chris Smalling has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson was the reason he opted for a move to Man Utd.
By James Riach
Last Updated: 06/03/10 12:39pm
Fulham defender Chris Smalling has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson was the reason he opted for a move to Manchester United.
The 20-year-old centre-back will switch to Old Trafford in the summer for more than £10million, having only made his debut for non-league Maidstone United in August 2008.
A whirlwind few months has seen him make his first Premier League start for Fulham, before Ferguson came knocking at the start of the year.
Arsenal were also in the frame to secure the signature of Smalling, but he revealed the personal touch of the United boss, who came to talk to him on the eve of the Carling Cup semi-final with Manchester City, persuaded him to move North.
"For him to come down the day before a big game was a huge compliment," he told The Guardian.
"That made it feel incredible. I went up the next day to the Manchester derby and got to meet some of the players afterwards.
"I went to see the training ground, did the medical, and everyone was very welcoming.
"When Sir Alex came and met me and I went to go up and visit, I had the gut feeling this was the place for me to continue my football education."
Before his move, though, Smalling still has some unfinished business at Craven Cottage this season.
Fulham are enjoying another strong campaign - they are currently well placed in the Premier League, set to face Juventus in the last 16 of the Europa League, and play Spurs in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday.
The young defender added: "The chance of getting to Wembley, and playing against the likes of Juventus, shows how far we have come as a group."