Chris Smalling is relishing his role as the 'bully' in Manchester United's defence alongside partner Daley Blind.
The two have struck up a strong understanding in the centre of the Red Devils defence, keeping clean sheets in all three games this season, and Smalling shed some light on how he and his Dutch team-mate work as a duo.
The former Fulham defender has improved significantly under Louis van Gaal and there is no doubt he is the number one centre back at Old Trafford, having originally struggled to hold down a place in the side under Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes.
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As relayed by the Mail, Smalling said: "I have always liked that competition with the striker and obviously Daley is not that sort of centre-back who is going to dominate, so it's a case of I take that mantle on and I am enjoying it,
"I feel like I bullied quite a few players in matches in the past but hopefully I can get the consistency where it can be on show every week now. It's comfortable playing next to Daley. Sometimes if there is a big opponent we will swap around. But he can handle himself as well so I am enjoying playing alongside him"
Questions have been asked about United's title credentials after a start to the season that has seen them score two goals in three matches.
The Red Devils have lacked fluidity going forward and have struggled to break teams down, however their defence has never looked so organised since Ferguson's departure.
The addition of Matteo Darmian on the right and return to fitness of Luke Shaw mean United have two top-class full back and with Smalling finally coming of age, United have a foundation on which to build a strong season.
The arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin has also offered the Red Devils some extra security, with the former Southampton man tidying up any mess in front of the back four.
If United can find their stride going forward, to compliment their solidarity at the back they can go on to have a very fruitful campaign, but it is a big if.