Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has conceded that transfer rumours inspired him to perform better for the club amid speculation he would be replaced.
United were linked with a big-money move for Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos in the summer, and had it materialised, it would have undoubtedly put pressure on Smalling to secure a future at Old Trafford.
As a result, rather than be left downhearted with the rumours, the England international used it as motivation and has established himself as one of United’s top performers so far this season.
“It does spur you on,” he told the club’s official website.
“When you come to Manchester United, in every transfer window, whether the team is doing well or badly, there are always players linked with the club because this club is always linked with the best players.
“It keeps you on your toes and spurs you on. You can’t rest on six months of good performances because as soon as you have a blip, there is always another player to take your place.”
Since arriving at the club in 2010, the former Fulham starlet had struggled with injuries which in turn prevented him for gaining consistency and a chance to impress.
However, having steered clear of setbacks this season, the towering centre-half has been an ever-present for the Red Devils and has played a crucial role in helping coach Louis van Gaal establish one of the better defensive lines in the Premier League.
Although goals at the other end of the pitch have been an issue for the Dutchman, Smalling has been a shining light for the club this season in providing the team with a platform to build on and go out and win games as they look to now get their title charge back on track in the coming weeks.