Man Utd's Smalling: Defenders should be scared of Lukaku, Pogba

Chris Smalling

When asked whether he was surprised to be left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, the United defender replied, "Was I surprised (to be left out)?"

"I think it would strike fear into myself if I was playing against them, and it strikes fear into most teams", Smalling told reporters before United's Champions League clash with Basel.

".I think ultimately if my season carries on like this and we have a successful season and our team still concedes very few goals, then I think it gives him maybe no choice in the summer but to pick me (for the 2018 World Cup)".

Manchester United's Chris Smalling was "surprised" by the reason England boss Gareth Southgate gave for leaving him out of his last squad - but says he has not given up hope of a recall.

"I play for one of the biggest clubs and most successful managers in Jose [Mourinho]", he said.

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"With United there is always a spotlight on it and there's always going to be that pressure, not matter what the game is".

Mourinho's men are set to face Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday coming off the back of a morale-boosting 4-1 victory over Newcastle which saw Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic welcomed back into the fold.

Mourinho said his comments about Smalling were from a selfish perspective and added that in reality he wanted his players to be happy and play for their national teams.

"You want to be able to play regular games and be a part of a successful team and so far we have been successful, it's just a case of improving on a year ago when we won two trophies and improving on that".

Mourinho, 54, said: "I hope he doesn't get his spot back because when somebody goes injured, he comes back injured, Jones comes back injured".

Smalling also weighed in on United's attack: "I think it would strike fear into me if I was playing us and I think it strikes fear into most team". Smalling said, as quoted on United's official site.

The United manager joked that he does not want Smalling to win back his England place after losing Jones to injury during the last worldwide break.

Mourinho added that he hopes Smalling doesn't get a recall for the England squad in light of Phil Jones' recent injury on global duty. "We don't have Jones, we don't have Eric Bailly again, so Smalling has to play every match and well, that we can say".

"Smalling is playing all the time and playing well".

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