Louis van Gaal has backed Chris Smalling to be the future captain at Manchester United after the defender’s rise in form in last one year.
Wayne Rooney has been handed the captain’s armband after the Dutchman took over the reigns at Old Trafford. His compatriot and midfielder Michael Carrick is his deputy at United.
Smalling was sent off in the Manchester derby against Manchester City at the Etihad last season. Since that red card, the centre-back has changed his fortune and went on to become one of the best central defenders in the Premier League.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has backed the English defender to be a captain in the future, once Rooney and Carrick retire or leave the club.
“Wayne Rooney is the captain and so you don’t have worry and then (vice-captain) Michael Carrick, but when they are gone, then Chris Smalling can do that, so I push him also in that situation,” Sky Sports reported Van Gaal as saying.
“He has done it by himself. There is a lot of advice. It is about how we defend as a team. He is a part of that and I wanted him to speak. He also has the talent to speak. That makes him easy to coach. Because of that, I made him a leader of the team.
“He has made steps and also in a tactical way. When you give instruction in terms of organisation, you need someone to understand that. David de Gea has the best view and then the central defenders, so I demand of my defenders that they speak.”
LVG blames evil schedule
Meanwhile, United manager has blamed English club’s lack of success in the Europe down to the “evil” schedule. There is no winter break in England as there will be several matches during the festive period at the end of every calendar year, which is continued since the start of the new year.
“There is no winter break and I think that is the most evil thing of this culture. It is not good for English football,” United manager explained.
“It is not good for the clubs or the national team. I think you should change it. England haven’t won anything for how many years? Because all the players are exhausted at the end of the season.”
“It is harder these days (to win the league). The Premier League is the most difficult league to win because of the high level of the teams. You cannot beat any team easily.
“Every team is a challenge. It is a rat race and then you have to play also in the Champions League. It is not so easy and that is why English teams over the last few years have not won the Champions League because of the difference in the leagues.”
United have returned to Manchester from their trip to east on Thursday. The Red Devils flew to Russia to face CSKA Moscow in the midweek Champions League clash, which ended in a 1-1 draw. They now host derby rivals Manchester City in the Premier League tie at Old Trafford on Sunday.