Chris Smalling
Smalling has made his mark on both United and England. REUTERS

Chris Smalling believes he and Phil Jones can be the bedrock of Manchester United's success for many years to come after revealing his ambition to establish himself in the heart of Old Trafford's defence alongside his hugely vaunted young teammate.

Despite playing the vast majority of his fledgling Manchester United career to date at right-back, the towering defender is a centre-back by trade and is eager to cement his place there in the future.

The £7 million signing from Fulham has settled seamlessly in Manchester United's starting XI and although that has largely been at fullback, the recent injury to Nemanja Vidic and the uncertain fitness concerns of Rio Ferdinand has the heightened the prospect of Smalling eventually partnering Jones in the centre of Sir Alex Ferguson's defence.

"I do see us eventually playing at the centre of the defence. Hopefully, that will be the case. We are both young and ideally, that's where we want to play." The versatile Manchester United youngster told the Daily Star.

"There's a good bond between me and Phil. We get on really well together and Phil has done really well since he joined me here at United.

"I think he can play pretty much anywhere, which is good for United and for England. We are both happy playing anywhere too.

"Playing in different positions, as we have been doing, is good experience for both of us. You have to be able to adapt."

While keen to stake a claim for a starting berth alongside Jones in the heart of Manchester United's defence the 22-year-old admits Sir Alex Ferguson's first choice pair, of Rio Ferdinand and the recently injured Nemanja Vidic still have plenty to offer the club.

"Rio and Nemanja have been an enormous help to have around since I've been at the club," the Manchester United star acknowledged.

"They've got so much experience and I'm picking up from what they do."

Smalling's form for Manchester United this season has seen him establish himself in Fabio Capello's England setup, and the former Fulham and Maidstone United starlet concedes he would love to make the Italian's squad for next summer's European Championship.

Smalling said: "I'm having to pinch myself to believe I've come so far, so quickly.

"It would be massive to get in the England squad for the Euros but I've got a big season at United first."