Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has handed the Red Devils a boost by stating that he hopes to be fit to play against Arsenal on Sunday (28 February) at Old Trafford. The English defender suffered a shoulder injury during their 3-0 win over Shrewsbury Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and Louis van Gaal had stated that he was a doubt for the clash.
The England international has been a constant in the ever changing United defence this season, and amidst injuries to all his colleagues, he has stood strong and marshalled the back four during the course of the campaign. He has appeared in all but one Premier League game thus far this season, and is hoping to be fit when the Gunners visit on Sunday.
Smalling believes the reason for his consistent performances is a prolonged run in the first-team, and is hoping it continues for the foreseeable future. The defender, who is a boyhood Arsenal fan, has admitted that the clash against the north London club is something he looks forward to the entire season.
"I was disappointed to miss the other night, but I'm hoping to be OK to play this game," Smalling said, as quoted by ESPN FC.
"Touch wood, that carries on [on impressive performances]. I've not really done anything differently to the other lads but, probably from about halfway through last season, I got on a good run in the team and I've just tried to carry that on from there. Long may it continue."
"I always look forward to these games. It's no secret that I was an Arsenal supporter growing up, so this fixture is even bigger for me and especially given it involves two of the biggest teams in the country. I hope I can step out onto the field," the former Fulham defender added.