Manchester United defender Chris Smalling said it has been an honour to step in as skipper at Old Trafford throughout the season.
Smalling took out the Players’ Player of the Year award at the club’s end-of-season awards and said he was honoured to be held in such high regard by his team-mates.
The 26-year-old England international has played a major part in United’s 17 clean sheets this Premier League campaign, in what has been his best season since arriving as a shock signing from Fulham in 2010.
“It’s a massive honour to receive this from my fellow players. There are some big names on the winners’ list, so it’s great to add mine to it,” he said after winning the award.
“It’s been good that we [Daley Blind and Smalling] have been able to play so consistently together and learn each other’s game. We’ve been quite solid as a team defensively.
“[The captaincy] is a huge honour and it’s great that the manager has shown faith in me. It’s nice that after Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney I get the chance. It really adds to your own sense of leadership.”
Smalling said his focus was not turned on winning the FA Cup with United and ensure that the club ends the season on a high note, with the team still chasing a top-four Premier League finish.
“It’s nice to win this award tonight, but I’m looking forward to hopefully picking up another trophy at Wembley in a few weeks,” he said.