Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has admitted that transfer speculation linking the club with centre-backs inspired him to produce the best form of his career this season.
The Red Devils were linked with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Nicolas Otamendi and Mats Hummels during the summer transfer window, but none of the moves transpired.
Subsequently, Smalling has arguably been the best performer in the United squad this season and admits the uncertainty of modern day football has inspired him to take the next step.
“It does spur you on,” he said.
“When you come to Manchester United, in every transfer window, whether the team is doing well or badly, there are always players linked with the club because this club is always linked with the best players.
“It keeps you on your toes and spurs you on. You can’t rest on six months of good performances because, as soon as you have a blip, there is always another player to take your place.
“I have been happy with the past year, I have stayed relatively injury-free and have been able to play games, build up and keep learning. I take a lot of positives from that.
“Towards the end of last season and in the summer, somebody needed to step up and make sure they were consistent.”
“In the last couple of years we have had a lot of injuries in the centre-back positions, so in these last 12 months I have been happy and injury-free with the manager’s faith.”