Chris Smalling Injury: Updates on Manchester United Defender's Shoulder, Return

Christopher SimpsonFeatured Columnist

Manchester United's Chris Smalling, left, fights for the ball with CSKA's Ahmed Musa during the Champions League Group B soccer match between Manchester United and CSKA Moskva at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling did not feature for several games after the FA Cup win over Shrewsbury Town on Feb. 22 because of a shoulder injury. However, he's now fit to play.

Continue for updates.

Smalling Back vs. West Brom

Sunday, March 6

Smalling was included in the starting XI for United's trip to the Hawthorns.

United Regain a Leader in Smalling

Smalling, once a figure of fun at Old Trafford for some questionable displays, has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent times and is arguably United's best centre-back.

Indeed, James Robson of the Manchester Evening News proposed Smalling's development "is [manager Louis] van Gaal's best achievement yet" during his tenure as United boss.

Powerful in the air and assured on the ball, the 26-year-old is a commanding presence in the Red Devils' back line.

United are fairly thin at centre-back, with the likes of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Paddy McNair either injury-prone or inexperienced by comparison.

Smalling is a crucial figure for United, and his return will aid their bid to qualify for the UEFA Champions League through domestic competition or by winning the Europa League.