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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.