The 26-year-old defender has been rated as one of the best in his position in the Premier League this term, having been the key figure in an exceptionally tight back-line.
He has grown under the tutelage of Louis van Gaal, and is looking like a much more complete player than he ever has before in his career.
Smalling’s new reputation as a well-rounded centre-back has seen comparisons with United great Rio Ferdinand, who is considered one of the best defenders England has ever produced.
This is high praise for Smalling, and he has reacted to the comparisons, admitting he hopes he can continue to improve.
“It is nice to hear yourself being compared to great players,” the England international said.
“Everyone has their own traits but if you are being compared to players like Rio Ferdinand then you must be doing something well and hopefully I can keep that going.”
The 26-year-old is expected be a key part of England’s squad for the European Championship this summer, and he believes he has done enough in recent performances to establish himself as a key figure under Roy Hodgson.
He added: “I feel I have put my name right at the forefront and after playing the last two England games I hope I can keep that shirt and carry on my good form into the summer.”