Wednesday, 9th January, 2013

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has bemoaned his recent injury layoff as "one of the worst I’ve had".

The centre-back picked up a groin knock at the end of last season. It forced him to miss the summer’s European Championship in Poland/Ukraine for England. Then, aiming to be fit for the current campaign, he broke his metatarsal in July and was again put out of action.

Smalling only returned to first team duty in November and has taken some time to ease back into the pace of the game, picking up match fitness as he goes.

But the injury layoff has had its effect and Smalling admits the time on the sidelines was a real setback, with the focus now very much on getting games under his belt.


"I’ve been able to play a few games now and it’s just a case of keeping that going. The more games you have the more you get into a rhythm and the more confident you feel", he told his club’s official site.

"I just want to stay injury-free now and hopefully go on a good run [of playing games]; there are lots of important matches coming up.

"It’s been one of the worst [injury setbacks] I’ve had. It started at the end of last season and then I missed the start of this season. It’s never easy to miss the start of the season and then come back into it, but I’m fortunate that I’ve started to get back into the team.

"The main thing you focus on when you get back is getting into a rhythm. You’ve missed out while everyone has been playing and doing well so it makes you focus harder to get yourself back to being better than you were before."

Smalling is getting back into the swing of things just in time to be a big asset for Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson during the second half of the season.

By Ferguson’s own admission Manchester United conceded too many goals in the first half of the season and the 71-year-old will be desperate to put that right from now until the season ends in May.

And a fully fit and in-form Smalling will make Ferguson’s job of doing that quite a bit easier.

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