Chris Smalling has not spoken to Gareth Southgate but hopes consistent performances for Manchester United will boost his chances of earning an England recall at the World Cup.
The 28-year-old defender has not featured in Southgate’s previous two squads, the coach’s concerns about the centre-back’s ability to play out from the back placing his hopes of featuring for the Three Lions in Russia in some doubt.
He started and impressed, though, up against England star Harry Kane as United defeated Tottenham 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.
And Smalling remains optimistic he can still convince the national team coach of his worth in the final weeks of the domestic season.
“All I can do is play the games and at the minute I’m playing every game and performing in big games so I’ll just keep doing my job,” he said.
“Of course you want to be playing in the summer. All you can do is let your football do the talking.
“I think I’ve been a mainstay in the set-up for quite a while now and I just want to finish the season as strongly as I can and see what happens.”
Asked if he had discussed his situation with Southgate, Smalling said: “No. At the minute there’s no conversations and I’m going to keep playing my games.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 22, 2018
Smalling has made 26 Premier League appearances for United this season, often alongside fellow England player Phil Jones, the pair keeping the likes of Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof out of the first team.
Something of a surprise capture from Fulham in 2010, Smalling’s status as a valued member of the first team at Old Trafford has not always been certain, but the defender feels he continues to demonstrate his value to Jose Mourinho.
“I think it takes big characters to last so long at United,” he said.
“They’re always being linked to every player who has played the game but the manager has faith in you and all the managers have [had] faith in me and now I just want to finish the season as strongly as I can and enjoy it.”
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