Manchester United defender Chris Smalling hopes to start for England against Italy on Tuesday night. The Three Lions travel to Turin to take on the Azzurris and the 25 year old wants to get involved after a string of impressive outings with United.
It has been a stop-start season for the towering centre back with several injuries and suspensions playing a part apart from his off field behaviours that got him into trouble in the past. Earlier this season, he was criticized by Louis van Gaal for being sent off in the first half in the Manchester derby but the player believes he has learnt from that testing period.
Smalling said as quoted by The Telegraph: “I’ve learnt not to get caught up in these situations. I try not to clock up too many cards, but that was a moment of madness.”
The former Fulham defender has started in United’s last four Premier League games with the Red Devils winning all of those, conceding just once. Smalling also showed that he had indeed learnt from past mistakes by not reacting to Mario Balotelli’s provocations during an altercation in United’s 2-1 victory at Anfield recently.
Liverpool striker Balotelli though has been left out of Italy’s squad to face England and there will be no such possible repeat of the pair clashing again on the pitch.
Smalling continued: “If you’re doing your job and not giving the striker much of a chance he’ll probably get angry, and Balotelli is someone who can lose his temper very quickly.”
“If I’m shutting down the striker, I’m happy to see them get frustrated. I thought it could be round two on Tuesday, but I’ve seen he’s not in the squad so we’ll have to wait for that. It’s not something I really want to focus on now.”