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Smalling: "Let's set the tone"

Manchester United’s defence has been in a state of flux for the best part of five seasons, ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013. Both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, arguably one of the greatest centre back partnerships in Premier League history followed a year later, and United haven’t had a settled defensive unit since.

Not that Chris Smalling is letting this summerss speculation on a move for another central defender affect him too much. The England international, who joined the club in 2010, enjoyed the summer off having failed to make the cut for Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad. Having returned refreshed and ready for the campaign ahead, the former Fulham defender is looking at his team to make a statement at the start of this season.

“I think it [the start of the season] does come round very quickly,” Smalling said in an interview with MUTV. “But that’s Manchester United.

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“We’re often the most talked about, and why not let us set the tone for the season and hopefully just get that win and set a marker?”

United kick off the Premier League season with the visit of Leicester City on Friday 10th August, with rumours swirling that another centre back will be joining the club’s ranks before the summer transfer window closes next week.

Smalling, however, appears unconcerned at the prospect: “I’m just relishing living in this moment and, hopefully, I can look back and be very satisfied [in years to come].

“Hopefully, there’s lots more to come, but it’s nice to have a contribution and to be here for quite a while, helping the team and the managers that have come.

“I just try to do my best and try to be a part of the team. That’s something I’ve really felt at this club.”

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By Kevin T

Kevin Thatcher is a freelance journalist who's work has featured in various national and international publications, including Mail Online & The Mirror. Kevin has been a Manchester United season ticket holder in South Stand for many years, and writes for RedMancunian to combine both his love for writing, and club.