Although Louis Van Gaal has already made it clear that the former Barcelona man is out of favour at Old Trafford and has been frozen out, the Premier League leaders will not allow their player to join an English club.
And centre-back Smalling has hailed the way he has impacted upon United’s style of play this season, telling their official matchday programme: “If you could ask for a moment to announce yourself on the world stage, it would be in a massive game like Liverpool at home [when he scored on his debut]”.
“That makes a huge difference”, the Dutchman continued.
“He was a very young talent when I was there (as Bayern Munich coach in Germany), so I know him”, Van Gaal said.
Van Gaal, a renowned taskmaster, steered United to a fourth-placed finish in his first season with the club last term after he replaced David Moyes at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils leapfrogged rivals Manchester City after the Citizens suffered a heavy defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.
“I came off the tour and felt a tightness in my calves and had a scan on it and found a blood clot in my leg”.
“But you need also luck and today the luck was in the last minute of the first half“.
“Last year we had the feeling we could win the league”. But it is better than previous year when we had 13 points after 10 matches and you have to chase.
Sunderland had a great chance to get back in it, but De Gea stood tall and blocked Patrick van Aanholt’s strike to keep United in a comfortable position.
Van Gaal’s opposite number Dick Advocaat was far less happy with his team.
While the £36m Anthony Martial missed out on scoring for the third game in a row, Rooney’s goals took him level with Denis Law in United’s list of all-time scorers by hitting the 171 mark.
“He is coming in to do his training sessions, eat with the players and prepare for matches so it’s more or less the same rhythm he had when he was at Monaco – except for living in the hotel”. “And the second half, two set pieces – one of them was also offside – that decided the game”.
City went ahead in the 25th minute through Kevin De Bruyne, but Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Harry Kane, with his first goal of the season, and Erik Lamela scored as Spurs roared back for a win that sent them fifth. Stoke picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over injury-hit Bournemouth, who lost star striker Callum Wilson to a potentially long-term knee injury in the first half.