Utd want Smalling to dictate
Man Utd defender Chris Smalling has been told by the club's coaching staff that he needs to find his voice.
Last Updated: 22/03/11 11:24am
Manchester United rising star Chris Smalling has been told by the club's coaching staff that he needs to find his voice on the pitch.
The former Maidstone defender has proved to be a more than ample understudy for the injured Rio Ferdinand, having only arrived at United from Premier League rivals Fulham last July.
But Smalling still has a lot to learn and there was a clear lack of communication with Wes Brown in the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool and the nervy UEFA Champions League second-leg win over Marseille.
The 21-year-old has surpassed expectations, however, he has been urged by Sir Alex Ferguson and his team of coaches to become more dominant as he continues his development at Old Trafford.
"The coaching staff want me to start expressing myself a bit more," said Smalling.
"They think I am a bit quiet on the pitch. But it is starting to come. With more games I am sure that confidence will come across.
"At set-pieces in particular you have to be a figurehead when you are in central defence.
"You have to dictate and make sure people are marking. I have to make sure that comes across."
The injuries and suspension of Nemanja Vidic forced Smalling to play alongside Brown, and the youngster admits that he prefers playing with a more experienced partner at centre-back.
"It is important to have an experienced player with me," he said.
"I have not really faced these kind of strikers before, so having someone around to help has made it a lot easier. It gives you the confidence to cope."