Chris Smalling says Manchester United being linked with new defenders on a regular basis only encourages him to get the best out of himself.
The Old Trafford side were heavily tipped to move for Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, but Smalling, who has been a consistent performer for Louis van Gaal’s team so far this season, has claimed he does not let any transfer rumours affect him in a negative way.
“Transfer speculation during the off-season does spur you on,” Smalling told MUTV.
“When you come to Manchester United, in every transfer window – whether the team is doing well or badly – there are always players linked with the club because this club is always linked with the best players.
“It keeps you on your toes and spurs you on. You can’t rest on six months of good performances because as soon as you have a blip, there is always another player to take your place.”
While United have endured a difficult run of form in recent weeks, Smalling is hoping to maintain his high individual standards in 2016.
“I have been happy with the past year, I stayed relatively injury-free and have been able to play games, build up and keep learning. I take a lot of positives from that,” he said.
“Towards the end of last season and in the summer, somebody needed to step up and make sure they were consistent. In the last couple of years we have had a lot of injuries in the centre-back positions, so in these last 12 months I have been happy with the manager’s faith.
“I don’t make too many resolutions but if I can stay injury-free again then I would wish for that, and also to contribute to success with United and England.”
United are at home to Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Saturday.