Pundit raves about Man United star: He deserves World Cup spot

BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks wants Man United star Chris Smalling to be included in England's World Cup squad

Chris Smalling and his fiance Samantha Photo: Chris Smalling / Instagram

Chris Smalling’s current form for Manchester United warrants a place in England’s World Cup squad, Garth Crooks has claimed.

The England international was omitted from Gareth Southgate’s recent squad to raise questions about his prospects of featuring at Russia 2018.

However, Smalling has returned to favour under Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho in recent months.

The 27-year-old has scored three goals in his last 10 games in all competitions to help Manchester United win the derby at The Etihad.

The Red Devils have managed to keep three clean sheets in their last 10 fixtures with Smalling in Mourinho’s starting XI.

The former Fulham star has netted four times in 26 outings in the Premier League this term to play a role in their bid to finish in the top four.

Ex-Spurs forward Crooks believes Smalling’s current form merits a place in the England squad for this summer’s World Cup.

“Gareth Southgate left Chris Smalling out of England’s friendly games against the Netherlands and Italy in March, but on current form, he has to be back in the manager’s thinking,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“The Manchester United central defender was superb against Spurs at Wembley in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final and didn’t give Harry Kane a kick. Smalling may not be particularly skilful but there isn’t a better competitor in the Premier League.

“England are not blessed with enough centre-backs to leave Smalling out. The World Cup in Russia will be nothing if not a test of bottle and Smalling has plenty of it.”

Smalling moved to Manchester United from Fulham in 2010 after the defender impressed Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Red Devils are in second place in the Premier League table and three points ahead of Liverpool FC.

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