Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to reunite international pals Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at Old Trafford, has seemingly found a Manchester United partnership as capable as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic for many years to come.
The newly-acquainted Red Devils teammates were the preferred central defensive partnership in the recent European Under 21 Championships in Denmark, for Stuart Pearce's England side.
And Smalling, who has already spent one year in the United fold, thinks Jones' arrival will provide added competition for places and will be a welcome boost to the squad, especially come the end of the season.
"I've got to know him quite well since he's come to Under 21s in the last year or so and it's great to see him come and join this great club," Smalling said.
"We're covered in all departments there and given the amount of games we played last year and over the years, through the 50 and 60 barrier so we're definitely going to need everybody come the end of the season."
Smalling enjoyed a stand-out debut season with United after signing from Fulham in January 2010. That stellar campaign was reason enough for United to offer him a new five-year contract earlier this month.
With a new contract in hand and such a strong base for him to build on, Smalling is confident that he will improve in his second season with United. "My first year was brilliant and I'm looking to keep on progressing and have a good second season," he said.
"I feel more confident. I've set myself high standards and hopefully I can keep hitting them and keep improving because I'm still only young.
"Towards the end of last season it was great to be able to have that phone call and just say that I'm going to extend my stay here."
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