Hodgson denies Smalling-Arsenal talk

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Fulham manager Roy Hodgson maintains there has been no contact from Arsenal over promising defender Chris Smalling - and would expect a phone call from Arsene Wenger if there was any interest.

The 20-year-old - plucked from non-League Maidstone by the Cottagers - has been linked with a £7million move to the Gunners, who on Wendesday night went top of the Barclays Premier League with victory over Bolton. However, Hodgson insists the rumours have no foundation.

"If Arsenal are interested, then I guess they better get in touch with us," said the Fulham boss, who takes his side to Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.

"I have not spoken to Arsene at all. It has never been mentioned, and our chief executive has not spoken to their chief executive, so presumably that means they have got no interest, or the interest is being generated by someone else in the club or outside the club."

Hodgson continued: "Arsene made it clear to me with Brede Hangeland, he said: 'If I had been interested in signing Brede Hangeland, the first person I would have contacted would have been you'.

"I believe that, and fully expect when he wants to sign a Fulham player, I will be the first one to hear."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Chris Smalling
Premier League

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