Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is harboring ambitions of leading from the back for his club and England in the foreseeable future.

Having broken through into the United first team this season, Smalling has made the right-back position his own, while Fabio Capello also called on the former Fulham defender for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales.

Smalling forged a successful partnership with Phil Jones during the Under-21 European Championships this summer, and the versatile defender predicts the pair will have more opportunities together in the future.

"We've played together for the last year or so for the under-21s; so we've got a good understanding and respect," he said.

"Phil, Jonny and me are all trying to break through and get as many games as we can and the fact we play 60-game seasons means that we'll get our fair share.

"I'm looking to really cement myself in the United side and then maybe at the end of his season or at the start of next season to kick on with England. So getting the appearances so early this season has been great."


Despite plying his trade as a centre-back, Smalling has been used as a right-back in the absence of Rafael da Silva, a role he reveals gives him more license.

"I see myself as a centre-back, and the coaches here do, but if you've got that versatility then in the long run it should help us," he added.

"Even at centre-back the manager really wants us to get on the ball and start attacks.

"That's something I like, and I think with guys like Phil Jones and Jonny Evans it's playing to our strengths.

"You can't rely on the midfield to do everything; it we can come in and make an extra man and help break teams down, it helps. we do quite a lot if work on that."

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