Manchester United and England Chris Smalling defender could have been watching the game against Italy on Tuesday night from home, with a degree in Financial Economics under his belt, if it wasn’t for Roy Hodgson, according to the Express.
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The 25-year-old has revealed that he was all set for university until Hodsgon stepped in and offered him a professional contract when he was the manager of Fulham.
It all came about when Smalling, who was then playing for non-league side Maidstone United, was invited to attend a trial with the Cottagers and he obviously did enough to impress his current international manager
“Roy’s the one who really got it started for me. He pulled me into his office after the trial and it started from there.” Smalling told the Express.
“I went along with my mum and my brother, but already had the back-up plan of places to study Financial Economics at Leicester and Loughborough. I had an offer of three B’s, which I was confident of getting, and I did.” he added.
“I can’t remember the whole conversation afterwards, but Roy was very encouraging, I came back for a week to train with the reserves, and was offered a contract a month or so later.” he said.
Since turning professional in 2008, Smalling has experienced an incredible rise up the league pyramid and his performances for Fulham earned him a move to Old Trafford two years later, where he has won two Premier League medals and has also been a regular in the England squad since making his debut against Bulgaria in 2011.