Man United’s Chris Smalling thrilled to be back in action
Chris Smalling recovered from tonsillitis to return to Manchester Untied's starting line-up for Sunday's win at Manchester City
Chris Smalling has admitted his delight at making his return from injury and playing a vital part in Manchester United’s 3-2 FA Cup victory over Manchester City on Sunday.
The England international had not featured for United since their 5-0 win at Fulham on 21 December due to tonsillitis – and the 22-year-old admitted it was a difficult spell on the sidelines as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side lost to Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United in his absence.
“It was a frustrating Christmas and New Year for myself as I was pretty much laid up in bed for the whole time,” Smalling told the club’s website. “But I”˜m fit and well now and I’m back in training so hopefully I’m over it and can play in the rest of the games.”
Rooney broke the deadlock at Eastlands after 10 minutes before Vincent Kompany was sent off by referee Chris Foy for a tackle on Nani moments later.
Danny Welbeck then doubled the visitors’ lead before Rooney appeared to seal victory when he scored from the spot – but Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergio Aguero pulled two second-half goals back for City to set up a nervy finish.
United held on to book a fourth-round clash against Liverpool at Anfield and Smalling was quick to praise the Red Devils’ performance against the Premier League leaders, particularly Rooney’s display.
“They were two great finishes from Wayne and his overall game was brilliant,” said Smalling. “We really passed the ball around and showed great intent, we played some great stuff and it was a great first half.
“I think all eleven players really produced today and despite the second half dip, we stayed resilient and the important thing is that we got the win in the end.”