Sunday 9 August 2015 16:38, UK
Chris Smalling said new Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero “looked the part” during Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham at Old Trafford.
Romero, 28, was named in United’s starting line-up in place of David de Gea, who watched from the stands having been a subject of interest from Real Madrid all summer.
But Smalling was impressed with the Argentina international’s performance, who expertly denied Harry Kane from equalising ten minutes from time.
"I think Sergio looked the part,” Smalling told MUTV. “He came out and commanded his box which is what you want behind you as a defender because, when you've got a goalkeeper who comes out with that presence, it mops up a lot of the danger.”
Romero was one of five debutants in action for United on Saturday, and Smalling also singled out praise for Italian full-back Matteo Darmian, who signed from Torino in July.
"I think the new signings all slotted in effortlessly and their performances were very good. Darmian at right-back was terrific as well,” Smalling added.
“It was good that they all had the majority of pre-season, apart from Sergio, to gel with our players and I think it showed."
United manager Louis van Gaal has not given up hope of keeping De Gea at the club, but revealed after the match that the 24-year-old was not mentally prepared to feature, with youngster Sam Johnstone acting as Romero’s deputy on the bench.
"We trained until Tuesday or Wednesday with David de Gea (in goal),” Van Gaal said.
"I wanted to keep him in the line-up but in the end we decided not to do that because the goalkeeper's position is more about concentration and focus than any other position, I think."